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Rudyard Kipling

Rudyard Kipling

Dedication

To the City of Bombay
The Cities are full of pride, Challenging each to each -- This from her mountain-side, That from her burdened beach. They count their ships full tale -- Their corn and oil and wine, Derrick and loom and bale, And ramparts' 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 the 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, But 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!
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