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Excelsior
by Walt Whitman


WHO has gone farthest? For lo! have not I gone farther?
And who has been just? For I would be the most just person of the
earth;
And who most cautious? For I would be more cautious;
And who has been happiest? O I think it is I! I think no one was ever
happier than I;
And who has lavish'd all? For I lavish constantly the best I have;
And who has been firmest? For I would be firmer;
And who proudest? For I think I have reason to be the proudest son
alive--for I am the son of the brawny and tall-topt city;
And who has been bold and true? For I would be the boldest and truest
being of the universe;
And who benevolent? For I would show more benevolence than all the
rest;
And who has projected beautiful words through the longest time? Have
I not outvied him? have I not said the words that shall stretch
through longer time? 10
And who has receiv'd the love of the most friends? For I know what it
is to receive the passionate love of many friends;
And who possesses a perfect and enamour'd body? For I do not believe
any one possesses a more perfect or enamour'd body than mine;
And who thinks the amplest thoughts? For I will surround those
thoughts;
And who has made hymns fit for the earth? For I am mad with devouring
extasy to make joyous hymns for the whole earth!