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!
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
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.