Brother Robert Burns 

Caledonia's Bard - Brother Robert Burns

Brother Robert Burns was born in 1759 and died at the young age of 37 in 1796. In his short life time he created a legacy that has lasted to this day. Burns, his songs and poems, are one of the ways by which Scots are known to have a different identity, a different culture, from the rest of the United Kingdom.

Sadly, few people are aware that Robert Burns was a Freemason and remained so all of his adult life, indeed he was Senior Warden of Lodge St Andrew, Dumfries, (dormant) when he died.

Even fewer people are aware of the Masonic content of his work. One of his most famous: A Man's a Man for a' That, was sung at the official opening of the new Scottish parliament and delivered superbly by folk singer Sheena Wellington from a balcony overlooking the debating chamber. Freemasons, especially Scottish Freemasons, all over the world are intensely proud that a Masonic Anthem was chosen to mark this historic occasion. Freemasons everywhere will readily identify the Masonic significance of the words of Brother Robert Burns:


By Brother Robert Burns

Is there for honest poverty
That hings his head, an' a' that?
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,
The man's the gowd for a' that.

Wear hoddin grey, an' a' that?
Gie fools their silks, and knaves their wine -
A man's a man for a' that.
For a that, an' a' that,
Their tinsel show, an' 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, an' stares, an' a' that?
Tho' hundreds worship at his word,
He's but a cuif for a' that.
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,
A marquis, duke, an' a' that!
But an honest man's aboon his might -
Guid faith, he mauna fa' that!
For a' that, an' a' that,
Their dignities, an' a' that,
The pith o' sense an' 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
Shall bear the gree an' a' that!
For a' that, an a' that,
It's coming yet for a' that,
That man to man the world o'er
Shall brithers be for a' that.