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Excelsior


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Poem by Longfellow, published in Ballads and Other Poems (1841). In four-stress iambic couplets, with the title as a refrain, the poem figuratively depicts the life of a man of genius, as he maintains his individualistic purpose, resisting temptations and ignoring warnings. Climbing the mountain of his career, he passes beyond the village and the monastery, repeating his idealistic motto, until he is found dead on the highest glacier. Even then a voice is heard from the sky, proclaiming the motto as a promise of immortality.

Subjects: Literature.


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