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!