Rudyard Kipling


To the City of Bombay

       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!