Heard this on NPR today. As Andrew Sullivan wrote at The Daily Dish (though he quoted only part of it), "strangely moving." In fact, I cried in the car.
The Poor Voter on Election Day
The Proudest now is but my peer
The highest not more high.
Today, of all the weary year,
A king of men am I!
Today alike are great and small,
The nameless and the known.
My place is the people's hall,
The ballot box my throne.
Who serves today 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 today.
And sleekest broadcloth counts no more
Than homespun frock of gray.
Today let pomp and vain pretence
My stubborn right abide.
I set a plain man's common sense
Against the pedant's pride.
Today 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 today!
John Greenleaf Whittier, 1852