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(A man' a man) For all that


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Wolfgang Hell 27 Jun 97 - 05:52 AM
Kiwi 27 Jun 97 - 07:22 AM
dick greenhaus 28 Jun 97 - 08:40 AM
Wolfgang Hell 30 Jun 97 - 08:59 AM
John O'Keefe 12 Jul 97 - 10:11 AM
Wolfgang 14 Jul 97 - 11:12 AM
Murray 23 Jul 97 - 02:04 AM
Wolfgang 23 Jul 97 - 03:14 AM
Murray 24 Jul 97 - 02:30 AM
Wolfgang 24 Jul 97 - 03:11 AM
Wolfgang 25 Jul 97 - 10:13 AM
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Subject: (A man' s a man) For all that
From: Wolfgang Hell
Date: 27 Jun 97 - 05:52 AM

Most of you surely will know Burns' song A Man's a Man for all that (it is in the DT). I have found two other songs so far with the title "For all that" (one Christian song and one love song) both easily singable to the melody of Burns' song.

Who can claim priority?

There is a German song by the way (not contending for priority) on the failed revolution of 1848, sung to Burns' (?) melody, titled conveniently "Trotz alledem", the German equivalent of "For all that". I know many songs sharing the same melody, but I know of no other quadruplet of different songs sharing melody and title.

I wouldn't be surprized anymore if someone of this amazing group can top this. Wolfgang

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Subject: RE: (A man' a man) For all that
From: Kiwi
Date: 27 Jun 97 - 07:22 AM

*shrugs* I can't top that, unfortunately.. I was just introduced to the song "For a' That" two weeks ago when a friend handed me a mix tape which contained a couple songs by Dougie MacLean. :)

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Subject: RE: (A man' a man) For all that
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 28 Jun 97 - 08:40 AM

It's hard to discuss priority without seeing the other two lyrics. Burns wrote seceral sets of word to the tune, which was, apparently, a traditional one. It probably had words before Burns wrote his.

Why not post the other two lyrics, and we can go on from there?

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Subject: RE: (A man' a man) For all that
From: Wolfgang Hell
Date: 30 Jun 97 - 08:59 AM

O.K. Here they are:


(from a booklet from 1911; no information on tune given, but obviously the Burns tune is meant; Author named: John Stuart Blackie)

1. Is there for noble human kind wha droops an' doots an' a' that?
We'll pass him by, and what we find we'll bravely do for a' that.

Ch: For a' that and a' that, our ups and downs, and a' that,
Tho' seeds are slow in march to grow, we'll bide the june for a' that.

2. Some think a flood of ills is come to swamp the world and a' that;
'tis but a fly upon the thumb of Titan time for a' that.

Ch: For a' that and a' that, their fears and frets, and a' that,
though weeds may grow, with spade and hoe we'll root them out for a' that.

3. Some preach we're near the end of things, the crack o' doom, and a' that,
when constitution, state and kings will fall in smash and a' that.

Ch: For a' that and a' that, their dragons, beasts, and a' that;
wi' love o' God and love to man, we'll beat the de'il for a' that.

4. Then let us trust in manly wills, and honest hearts and a' that,
and love with sacred fire that fills heroic souls for a' that.

Ch: For a' that and a' that, their doubts and fears and a' that;
though Churches nod we'll trust in God, and live by faith for a' that.


(I do not know where from I copied this, but the following footnote made me wonder about priority: "Our national poet -Burns- appears to have used this old bothy song as a model for his 'A Man's a Man for a' That'")

1. Be gude to me as lang's I'm here, I'll maybe win awa' yet;
he's bonnie coming o'er the hills, that will tak' me frae ye a' yet.
For a' that and a' that, and thrice as muckle's a' that;
he's bonnie coming o'er the hills, that will tak' me frae ye a' yet.

2. He wears a bonnet for a hat, a napkin for a gravat,
he wears a jacket for a coat, but he'll be mine for a' that.
For a' that and a' that, and twice as muckle's a' that;
he's coming here and will be here to tak' me frae ye a' yet.

3. And maybe I'll hae hose and sheen, when ye maun a' gang barefit;
and maybe I'll gang neat and clean, when ye gang wet and drablit,
For a' that and a' that, and thrice as muckle's a' that;
ye'll maybe sit in my cot-town, when I sit in my ha' yet.

4. There's nane o' you been gude to me, but I'll reward ye a' yet,
you'll maybe need a peck o' meal when I can gie ye twa yet;
For a' that and a' that, and thrice as muckle's a' that,
I'll hae fine kilns, and fine meal mills, and muckle mair than a' that.

So, is this the first For A' That? Wolfgang

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Subject: RE: (A man' a man) For all that
From: John O'Keefe
Date: 12 Jul 97 - 10:11 AM

No, sorry Wolfgang, but the Burns' poem starts with the line : "Is there for honest poverty that hangs it's head an' a' that...." It can be found in any of the many, many colections of Burns' work. It is sometimes listed as a poem and sometimes as a song, but it is almost always included in any Burns' anthology. Burns travelled about Scotland in his early life working for the Scot's Musical Museum. He came from a musical background-his mother and Grandmother, I believe. It seems what he did was to put lyrics to the tunes that had none. In that way he assured the tune would live on in that tradition...even without musicians to perform it. Most good books on Burns have two sections : one for poems and one for songs. The melody of the songs are "borrowed " from the traditional aires of the time. I hope that's not too much rambling...I do like Burns....John

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Subject: RE: (A man' a man) For all that
From: Wolfgang
Date: 14 Jul 97 - 11:12 AM

Sorry John, but I did not understand what you were saying 'no' to. I also like Burns a lot. That's why I'm trying to find out what were his roots.

Meanwhile I have read that Burns used "Lady Mackintosh's Reel" as a basis for "Is there for honest poverty". No idea whether that is correct.

Cheers Wolfgang

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Subject: RE: (A man' a man) For all that
From: Murray
Date: 23 Jul 97 - 02:04 AM

Wolfgang: the tune appears in 1754 as "Lady MacIntosh's Rant" and/or "The Prince's Reel", then "Lady MacIntosh's Reel", etc. etc. As for the words, there's umpteen songs, it seems. Apart from Burns' "Is there for honest poverty" and "Tho' women's minds like winter winds", there's "Be Guid to Me as Lang's I'm here"in Ord's collection (1930), which MAY be as old as Burns. Also, "Is there for noble human kind" by Blackie [Scottish Students Song Book, circa 1880?]; "How Hard's the Fate of Womankind", said to be the original words, published by Watlen in the late 18th c. "A Lassie Fair" by Captain Charles Gray, who was writing new versions of old things in the early 1800s; "Shon McNab" by Alexander Rodger, in the big "Whistle-Binkie" collection in the mid-century; "What ails you now, my dainty Pate" by Alex. Douglas (died 1824); a Jacobite song, "Though Geordie reigns in Jamie's stead"; "Put butter in my Donald's Brose" in The Merry Muses of Caledonia (1799), and another obscene song, "They A' Do't" in the pornographic magazine "The Pearl",k 1880. There's more, I should think.

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Subject: RE: (A man' a man) For all that
From: Wolfgang
Date: 23 Jul 97 - 03:14 AM

Thanks a lot, Murray. I had expected that there would be more versions than I knew, but nevertheless I am deeply amazed by what you added. Meanwhile I also know that there are at least two German versions bearing the same title.

Cheers Wolfgang

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Subject: RE: (A man' a man) For all that
From: Murray
Date: 24 Jul 97 - 02:30 AM

Wolfgang--I think it would be great if you could post the German songs here, and maybe tell us something about them. I'm curious as to how the tune got over there! But it does go the other way as well--there's a great Scottish song called "The Crocodile", which translates a German student song you may know, "Ein lust'ger Musikanter". Not to mention borrowing Haydn's "Emperor's Hymn" (Deutschland ueber Alles) for an English hymn ("Glorious things of thee are spoken") as well as an obscene thing, "Life presents a dismal picture". Anyway--please post the German songs.

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Subject: RE: (A man' a man) For all that
From: Wolfgang
Date: 24 Jul 97 - 03:11 AM

Murray, I'll do it early next week, Wolfgang

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From: Wolfgang
Date: 25 Jul 97 - 10:13 AM

For Murray and all others who might be interested: (sorry to those that understand as much German as I understand Gaelic)

Burns' songs have been extremely popular in Germany during the last century. Quite a few of them have been translated. Robert Schumann, the composer, has written his own melodies for some of the translations.

Ferdinand Freiligrath who has lived for many years in England has translated Burns' Is There For Honest Poverty into German in 1843:


1. Ob Armut euer Los auch sei,
hebt hoch die Stirn trotz alledem!
Geht kühn den feigen Knecht vorbei:
wagt's arm zu sein trotz alledem!
Trotz alledem und alledem,
trotz niederm Pack und alledem,
der Rang ist das Gepräge nur,
der Mann das Gold trotz alledem.

2. Und sitzt ihr auch beim kargen Mahl
in Zwilch und Lein und alledem,
gönnt Schurken Samt und Goldpokal-
ein Mann ist Mann trotz alledem!
Trotz alledem und alledem,
trotz Prunk und Pracht und alledem!
Der brave Mann, wie dürftig auch,
ist König doch trotz alledem!

3. Heißt "Gnäd'ger Herr", das Bürschchen dort,
man sieht's am Stolz und alledem;
doch lenkt auch Hunderte sein Wort,
s'ist nur ein Tropf trotz alledem!
Trotz alledem und alledem,
trotz Band und Stern und alledem!
der Mann von unabhängigem Sinn
sieht zu, und lacht trotz alledem!

4. Ein Fürst macht Ritter, wenn er spricht,
mit Sporn und Schild und alledem;
den braven Mann kreiert er nicht,
der steht zu hoch trotz alledem:
Trotz alledem und alledem,
trotz Würdenschnack und alledem-
des innern Wertes stolz Gefühl
läuft doch den Rang ab alledem.

5. Drum jeder fleh, daß es gescheh,
wie es geschieht trotz alledem,
daß Wert und Kern, so nah wie fern, den Sieg erringt trotz alledem!
Trotz alledem und alledem,
es kommt dazu trotz alledem, daß rings der Mensch die Bruderhand
dem Menschen reicht trotz alledem.

(This is a singable translation as close as possible to Burns' lyrics; the tune is the same as Burns'. The German is very old fashioned and you sure couldn't find all the words even in a big dictionary)

Note in the book from which I copied this song: This song (and poem as well) has been forbidden soon after its first printing. The censoring body to which Freiligrath appealed, admitted that "the basic thought of the poem is absolutely true if it is interpreted and used in a clean and clear way", but nevertheless held up the decision of prohibition of the poem due to its "wrong ideas of freedom".

In 1848, there was a failed revolution in Germany (and not only there), starting in March and being crushed, especially by the Prussians, in the early summer of 1848. Many fine songs have been written in this period, one of the most popular being Freiligrath's Trotz Alledem, written in June, 1848. He used the same old tune of his 1843 Burns translation, the same structure of a succession of "trotz alledem" (for all that), but the lyrics were completely new, telling the story of the failed revolution. This song became even more popular than the 1843 translation and, as you might have guessed by now, was immediately forbidden:


1. Das war 'ne heiße Märzenzeit,
trotz Regen, Schneee und alledem!
Nun aber, da es Blüten schneit,
nun ist es kalt, trotz alledem!
Trotz alledem und alledem-
trotz Wien, Berlin und alledem -
ein schnöder, scharfer Winterwind
durchfröstelt uns trotz alledem!

2. Das ist der Wind der Reaktion
mit Mehltau, Reif und alledem!
Das ist die Bourgeoisie am Thron -
der annoch steht trotz alledem!
Trotz alledem und alledem,
trotz Blutschuld, Trug und alledem -
er steht noch und er hudelt uns wie früher fast, trotz alledem!

3. Die Waffen, die der Sieg uns gab,
der Sieg des Rechts trotz alledem, die nimmt man sacht uns wieder ab, samt Kraut und Lot und alledem! Trotz alledem und alledem,
trotz parlament und alledem -
wir werden unsre Büchsen los,
Soldatenwild trotz alledem.

4. Doch sind wir frisch und wohlgemut,
und zagen nicht, trotz alledem!
Aus tiefer Brust des Zornes Glut,
die hält uns warm trotz alledem.
Trotz alledem und alledem,
es gilt uns gleich, trotz alledem -
wir schütteln uns: ein garst'ger Wind,
doch weiter nichts trotz alledem.

5. Denn ob der Reichstag sich blamiert
professorhaft trotz alledem!
Und ob der Teufel reagiert
mit Huf und Horn und alledem -
Trotz alledem und alledem,
trotz Dummheit, List und alledem,
wir wissen doch: Die Menschlichkeit
behält den Sieg trotz alledem!

6. Und ob der Prinz zurück auch kehrt
mit Hurra hoch und alledem:
Sein Schwert ist ein gebrochen Schwert,
ein ehrlos Schwert, tortz alledem,
ja doch: trotz all- und alledem,
der Meinung Acht, trotz alledem,
die brach den Degen ihm entzwei
vor Gott und Welt, trotz alledem.

7. Nur was zerfällt, vertretet ihr!
seid Kasten nur, trotz alledem!
Wir sind das Volk, die Menschheit wir!
sing ewig drum, trotz alledem!
Trotz alledem und alledem!
So kommt denn an, trotz alledem!
Ihr hemmt uns, doch ihr zwingt uns nicht -
unser die Welt trotz alledem.

Now heard I someone asking for a translation? You can't mean that with all those old fashioned words I first have to look up in a German dictionary, before I look them up in a German-English dictionary. Many of the words definitely do not belong to my personal 3000+ vocabulary. O. K., I'll try it anyway, rather liberal than literal. The first song is easy. Look it up in the DT under "A Man's a Man for All That". I can't improve upon that. Now for the second:


1. It was a hot time in March for rain and snow and all that!
but now, as blossoms are snowing down, it is cold, for all that.
For all that and all that - for Vienna, Berlin and all that -
a sharp winter's wind chills us for all that.

2. This is the wind of the Reaction with mildew, white frost and all that!
that is the Bourgeoisie at the throne that still stands for all that.
For all that and all that for blood-guiltiness, deceit and all that,
it still stands and scamps our work, nearly as in former times, for all that.

3. The weapons that victory gave to us, a victory of justice, for all that,
are taken from us slowly with herb (??) and lead (plummet?) and all that!
For all that and all that for parliament and all that,we are getting rid of our rifles, being game for the soldiers for all that.

4. But we are fresh and of high spirit and don't quail for all that!
the heat of our wrath from deep in our chest keeps us warm for all that!
For all that and all that, we do not care for all that,
we shake it off: a nasty wind, but nothing more for all that.

5. For whether the Reichstag (i. e.: the parliament) makes a fool of itself, professors alike, for all that,
or the Devil reacts with hoof and horn and all that,
for all that and all that, for stupidity, ruse and all that,
yet we know: humanity keeps its victory for all that.

6. And even if the Prince comes back (my guess: means the son of the Kaiser; he had fled early during the revolution) with hurrah high and all that:
his sword it is a broken sword, dishonoured sword for all that
yet yes: for all and all that, public contempt for all that,
his rapier broken has in two, for God and world, for all that.

7. What falls apart, you're pleading for; but castes you are, for all that!
We are the people, mankind are we, everlasting are, for all that
For all that and all that, draw near to us, for all that,
you hamper, but not finish us - the world is ours, for all that.

I'm nearly through now, but: there is yet one more Trotz alledem. I have found it this morning (yes, of course: same tune, same structure). It has been written about 20 years ago by Hannes Wader (it tells the story of the failed 1968 student revolution). Hannes Wader has done a lot for the German folk revival and has written or translated many a fine song (German version of "No man's land", e.g.), but this particular song is not a good one. It will not survive. So there is no good reason to post it. And I'm getting tired for all that typing anyway.

Hope some of you enjoyed it.


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