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WEEK SIX

We continue the Burns Collection with his song of International Brotherhood – ‘A Man’s A Man’ – and a poem on a subject none of wish to suffer – ‘Address to the Toothache’. Toothache must have been far worse in the days of Robert Burns!

A MAN’S A MAN

Is there for honest poverty
That hings his head, and a' that?
The coward-slave, we pass him by,
We daur be poor for a' that!
For a' that, and a' that,
Our toils obscure, and a' that,
The rank is but the guinea's stamp,
The Man's the gowd for a' that!

What though on hamely fare we dine,
Wear hoddin grey, and a' that;
Gie fools their silks and knaves their wine,
A Man's a Man for a' that.
For a' that, and a' that,
Their tinsel show, and a' that;
The honest man, tho' e'er sae poor,
Is king o' men for a' that!

Ye see yon birkie ca'd a lord,
Wha struts, and stares, and a' that,
Though hundreds worship at his word,
He's but a coof for a' that:
For a' that, and a' that,
His ribband, star and a' that;
The man of independent mind
He looks and laughs at a' that.

A prince can mak a belted knight,
A marquis, duke and a' that;
But an honest man's abune his might
Gude faith, he maunna fa' that!
For a' that, and a' that,
Their dignities, and a' that;
The pith o' sense and pride o' worth
Are higher rank than a' that!

Then let us pray that come it may,
As come it will for a' that
That Sense and Worth, o'er a' the earth,
May bear the gree, and a' that.
For a' that, and a' that,
It's comin yet for a' that,
That Man to Man, the world o'er,
Shall brothers be for a' that!

 

ADDRESS TO THE TOOTHACHE

Click here to listen to this in Real Audio read by Marilyn P Wright

My curse upon your venom'd stang,
That shoots my tortur'd gums alang,
An' thro' my lug gies mony a twang,
Wi' gnawing vengeance,
Tearing my nerves wi' bitter pang,
Like racking engines!

When fevers burn, or argues freezes,
Rheumatics gnaw, or colics squeezes,
Our neibor's sympathy can ease us,
Wi' pitying moan;
But thee-thou hell o' a' diseases-
Aye mocks our groan.

Adown my beard the slavers trickle
I throw the wee stools o'er the mickle,
While round the fire the giglets keckle,
To see me loup,
While, raving mad, I wish a heckle
Were in their doup!

In a' the numerous human dools,
Ill hairsts, daft bargains, cutty stools,
Or worthy frien's rak'd i' the mools, -
Sad sight to see!
The tricks o' knaves, or fash o'fools,
Thou bear'st the gree!

Where'er that place be priests ca' hell,
Where a' the tones o' misery yell,
An' ranked plagues their numbers tell,
In dreadfu' raw,
Thou, Toothache, surely bear'st the bell,
Amang them a'!

O thou grim, mischief-making chiel,
That gars the notes o' discord squeel,
Till daft mankind aft dance a reel
In gore, a shoe-thick,
Gie a' the faes o' Scotland's weal
A townmond's toothache!

                                                                                              Return to A Burns Collection 

 


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