Robert Burns (1759-1796)

"For a' That and a' That"

Is there, for honest Poverty
         That hings his head, and a' that;
The coward-slave, we pass him by,
          We dare 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.-- gold 8
What tho' on hamely fare we dine,
          Wear holiin gray, an' a' that; coarse grey cloth
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, though e'er sae poor
          Is king o' men for a' that.-- 16
Ye see yon birkie ca'd, a lord, young fellow
          Wha struts, and stares, and a' that;
Though hundreds worship at his word
          He's but a coof for a' that: fool, clown
     For a' that, and a' that,
          His ribband, star and a' that, ribbon
     The man of independent mind,
          He looks and laughs at a' that.-- 24
A prince can mak a belted knight
          A marquis, duke, and a' that;
   But an honest man's aboon his might, above
          Gude faith he mauna fa' that! cannot lay claim to
     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.-- 32
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. prize, supremacy
     For a' that, and a' that,
          It's coming yet for a' that,
     That Man to Man the warld o'er,
          Shall brothers be for a' that. 40



This poem shows an "intense, uncritical contempt for rank in itself" (Kinsley 3. 1467).  Having titles and social rank does not make a person superior.
The sentiments in Burns here are much like those in Thomas Paine's defense of the French Revolution, The Rights of Man.
Thomas Paine. The Rights of Man1792.

Titles are but nicknames, and every nickname is a title. The thing is perfectly harmless in itself, but it marks a sort of foppery in the human character, which degrades it. It reduces man into the diminutive of man in things which are great, and the counterfeit of women in things which are little. It talks about its fine blue ribbon like a girl, and shows its new garter like a child. A certain writer, of some antiquity, says: "When I was a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things."

It is, properly, from the elevated mind of France that the folly of titles has fallen. It has outgrown the baby clothes of Count and Duke, and breeched itself in manhood. France has not levelled, it has exalted. It has put down the dwarf, to set up the man. The punyism of a senseless word like Duke, Count or Earl has ceased to please.