The Cities are full of pride, Challenging each to each -- This from her mountain-side, That from her burthened beach.
They count their ships full tale -- Their corn and oil and wine, Derrick and loom and bale, And rampart's gun-flecked line; City by City they hail: "Hast aught to match with mine?"
And the men that breed from them They traffic up and down, But cling to their cities' hem As a child to their mother's gown.
When they talk with the stranger bands, Dazed and newly alone; When they walk in the stranger lands, By roaring streets unknown; Blessing her where she stands For strength above their own.
(On high to hold her fame That stands all fame beyond, By oath to back the same, Most faithful-foolish-fond; Making her mere-breathed name Their bond upon their bond.)
So thank I God my birth Fell not in isles aside -- Waste headlands of the earth, Or warring tribes untried -- But that she lent me worth And gave me right to pride.
Surely in toil or fray Under an alien sky, Comfort it is to say: "Of no mean city am I!"
(Neither by service nor fee Come I to mine estate -- Mother of Cities to me, For I was born in her gate, Between the palms and the sea, Where the world-end steamers wait.)
Now for this debt I owe, And for her far-borne cheer Must I make haste and go With tribute to her pier.
And she shall touch and remit After the use of kings (Orderly, ancient, fit) My deep-sea plunderings, And purchase in all lands. And this we do for a sign Her power is over mine, And mine I hold at her hands!