Feeling a wee bit Scottish This Morning

The fabulous Robert Burns, the man we begin each new year with (“Auld Lang Syne”), also penned a favorite of mine.

“A Man’s A Man For A’ That”

Robert Burns (1795) – building up to all the Wars

Is there for honest Poverty

That hings his head, an’ a’ that;                           [hangs

The coward slave-we pass him by,

We dare be poor for a’ that!

For a’ that, an’ a’ that.

Our toils obscure an’ a’ that,

The rank is but the guinea’s stamp,                    [coin’s

The Man’s the gowd for a’ that.                            [gold

What though on hamely fare we dine,              [homely

Wear hoddin grey, an’ a that;                               [coarse wool

Gie fools their silks, and knaves their wine;   [give

A Man’s a Man for a’ that:

For a’ that, and a’ that,

Their tinsel show, an’ a’ that;

The honest man, tho’ e’er sae poor,                 [ever, so

Is king o’ men for a’ that.

Ye see yon birkie, ca’d a lord,                       [fellow, called

Wha struts, an’ stares, an’ a’ that;                  [who

Tho’ hundreds worship at his word,

He’s but a coof for a’ that:                                [fool or something naughtier?

For a’ that, an’ a’ that,

His ribband, star, an’ a’ that:

The man o’ independent mind

He looks an’ laughs at a’ that.

A prince can mak a belted knight,                    [make

A marquis, duke, an’ a’ that;

But an honest man’s aboon his might,            [above

Gude faith, he maunna fa’ that!                          [must-not fall to that

For a’ that, an’ a’ that,

Their dignities an’ a’ that;

The pith o’ sense, an’ pride o’ worth,              [essence

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,

Shall bear the gree, an’ a’ that.                           [win the prize

For a’ that, an’ a’ that,

That Man to Man, the world o’er,

Shall brothers be for a’ that.

An extremely intelligent man who writes in his natural dialect so as to call attention to the equal worth of man, regardless of station (which he is essentially saying is made up).  My favorite line is bold for you – it is the point.  To think on your own and value sense and worth, to value one another as “brothers” the world over.  Remember the time frame he wrote this is when tensions were building.  He was no fan of war, but of honesty, faith, sense and worth.   Over Two Hundred Years later and we still haven’t got this lesson down.

On a final note:   I really want to hear this performed in its original dialect!



Who is…. James Thomson, Scottish poet (1700-1748)

The introduction of Sleepy Hollow includes four lines of a poem written by????


Yes James Thomson!  As Irving begins quoting from Thomson’s Castle of Indolence:

“A pleasing land of drowsy head it was,

Of dreams that wave before the half-shut eye;

And of gay castles in the clouds that pass,

Forever flushing round a summer sky.”

For  entire poem see————->   http://www.poemhunter.com/best-poems/james-thomson/the-castle-of-indolence/


I find myself loving the idea of having my students select four lines from a poem to use them as a springboard for a short story

**** I might even try this out for myself a few times! ****





Franklin’s experience applied to the female voice

“retaining only the Habit of expressing myself in Terms of modest Diffidence, never using when I advance any thing that may possibly be disputed, the Words, Certainly, undoubtedly, or any others that give the Air of Positiveness to an Opinion; but rather say, I conceive or I apprehend a Thing to be so or so, It appears to me, or I should think it so or so for such and such Reasons, or I imagine it to be so or it is so if I am not mistaken.  This Habit I believe has been of great Advantage to me, when I have had occasion to inculcate my Opinions and persuade Men into Measures that I have been from time to time engag’d in promoting. And as the chief Ends of Conversation are to inform, or to be informed, to please or to persuade, I wish well-meaning sensible Men would not lessen their Power of doing Good by a Positive assuming Manner that seldom fails to disgust, tends to create Opposition and to defeat every one of those Purposes for which Speech was given us, to wit, giving or receiving Information, or Pleasure: For If you would inform, a positive dogmatical Manner in advancing your Sentiments, may provoke Contradiction and prevent a candid Attention.  If you wish Information and Improvement from the Knowledge of others and yet at the same time express yourself as firmly fix’d in your present Opinions, modest sensible Men, who do not love Disputation, will probably leave you undistrurb’d in the Possession of your Error; and by such a Manner you can seldom hope to recommend yourself in pleasing your Hearers, or to persuade those whose Concurrence you desire. ”

Benjamin Franklin’s The Autobiography, Part I from The Writings of Benjamin Franklin, edited by Albert Henry Smyth (1907) from The Norton Anthology of American Literature, Seventh edition, Volume A:  Beginnings to 1820, Pg483.

I love this reading, but I wonder how it applies to women in the 20th Century.  For so often if we appear soft spoken, concerned for the advancement of all – we are considered weak, whereas a man would be considered benevolent.  I wonder how the same lack of force can be established without sacrificing voice, confidence or podium time so to speak.  


10 Things you must give up to MOVE FORWARD


I so hope you all can read this because Everyone Should!!!
What a perfect summary of things we need to focus on!!!

Words to Inspire

August, 2013


“We can be powerful or we can be pitiful.”  ~Heard on ad for Secret Millionaire

“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” ~Winston Churchill

“Live as if you were to die tomorrow.  Learn as if you were to live forever.” ~Mohatma Gandhi

“The question isn’t who is going to let me; it’s who is going to stop me.”  Ayn Rand