Horace, Odes 3.30 (contributed by Terry Walsh)

Horace’s sphragis or sign-off poem to the first three books of his Odes. The poem has a stately simplicity about it, which perhaps derives from the run of adynata in the first five lines. Otherwise, the poem is full of I and me, the signs of a proud boast which Horace diverts at the end to his Muse!

Terry Walsh



Exegi monumentum aere perennius

regalique situ pyramidum altius,

quod non imber edax, non aquilo impotens

possit diruere aut innumerabilis

annorum series et fuga temporum.

non omnis moriar multaque pars mei

vitabit Libitinam; usque ego postera

crescam laude recens, dum Capitolium

scandet cum tacita virgine pontifex.

dicar, qua violens obstrepit Aufidus

et qua pauper aquae Daunus agrestium

regnavit populorum, ex humili potens,

princeps Aeolium carmen ad Italos

deduxisse modos. sume superbiam

quaesitam meritis et mihi Delphica

lauro cinge volens, Melpomene, comam.





I have crafted a monument more lasting than bronze,

and loftier than the royal pile of the pyramids,

a thing which neither biting rain nor the obstreperous

North Wind can destroy, nor the countless run of years,

The flight of time.

I will not totally perish and much of me will survive

Oblivion; I will go on living in the praise of those who

Postdate me, as long as the demure Vestal accompany

The priest who climbs the Capitol.

I will be read, where rushing Aufidus plunges, where poor

Daunus reigned over his rustics, from this poor place become

Powerful, as the first to have brought Aeolian lyric to

Latin rhythms.

Melpomene, accept the pride attendant on your merits, and

come, ready to crown me with the laurels of Delphi.




Chosen and translated by Terry Walsh, who recommends David West’s Odes and Epodes.

The above text is provided by the Perseus Digital Library.

Read more of this text at the Perseus site.

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