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"Poor Voter on Election Day" by Whittier

“Poor Voter on Election Day” by Whittier

"Poor Voter on Election Day" by Whittier

The proudest now is but my peer,
The highest not more high;
To-day, of all the weary year,
A king of men am I.
To-day, alike are great and small,
The nameless and the known;
My palace is the people’s hall,
The ballot-box my throne!

Who serves to-day upon the list
Beside the served shall stand;
Alike the brown and wrinkled fist,
The gloved and dainty hand!
The rich is level with the poor,
The weak is strong to-day;
And sleekest broadcloth counts no more
Than homespun frock of gray.

To-day let pomp and vain pretence
My stubborn right abide;
I set a plain man’s common sense
Against the pedant’s pride.
To-day shall simple manhood try
The strength of gold and land;
The wide world has not wealth to buy
The power in my right hand!

While there’s a grief to seek redress,
Or balance to adjust,
Where weighs our living manhood less
Than Mammon’s vilest dust, —
While there’s a right to need my vote,
A wrong to sweep away,
Up! clouted knee and ragged coat!
A man’s a man to-day!

Favorite Poems (1877) | John Greenleaf Whittier (1807–1892)

Online Poetry Anthology


Additional Resources

Our Holidays in Poetry {Free eBook}
You’ll find many of the fireside poets in this free book.

Free Civic Studies Lesson 14: The Citizen
More about Whittier here.

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