Ode 3.30 - More Lasting than Bronze

This is probably my favorite of Horace's Odes.  Here he, in all his sarcasm, claims that he will live forever.  

And we are still studying this poem today...

 

Exegi monumentum aere perennius

reglalique situ pyramidum altius,

quod non imber edax, non aquilo impotens

possit diruere aut innumerabilis

5  annorum series et fuga tempoum.

Non omnis moriar multaque pars mei

vitabit Libitinam; usque ego postera

crescam laude recens, dum Capitolium

scandet cum tacita virgine pontifex.

10  Dicar, qua violens obstrepit Aufidus

et qua pauper aquae Daunus agrestium

regnavit poplulorum, ex humili potens,

princeps Aeolium carmen ad Italos

deduxisse modos.  Sume superbiam

15  quaesitam meritis et mihi Delphica

lauro cinge volens, Melpomene, comam.

~Horace

 

I have created a monument more lasting than bronze

and loftier than the royal structure of the pyramids,

that which neither devouring rain, nor the unrestrained North Wind

may be able to destroy nor the immeasurable

succession of years and the flight of time.

I shall not wholly die and a greater part of me

will evade Libitina [Goddess of Death]; continually I,

newly arisen, may be strengthened with ensuing praise so long 

as the high priest climbs the Capitoline with the silent maiden.

It may be said that where the raging Aufidus roars

and where, short of water, Daunus ruled his rustic people,

powerful from a humble birth, I first brought Aeolian verse

to Italian measures.  Assume the arrogance 

sought for by those who have a claim to recognition, 

and with the Delphian laurel,

Melpomene, willingly crown my head.

 

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5-Aug-1999