Poetry: Excelsior by Walt Whitman

Who has gone farthest? for I would go 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 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 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 would surround those thoughts,

And who has made hymns fit for the earth? for I am mad with devouring ecstasy to make joyous hymns for the whole earth.

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