Horace, Odes, 3.30

by Tom Gardner

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 completed a monument more lasting than bronze
And loftier than the kingly position of the pyramids,
Which not corrosive rain, nor the unbridled North Wind,
Nor the countless series of the years
Nor flight of time can destroy.
I shall not wholly die, and a large part of me
Will elude Libitina, Goddess of Death: continually I will grow,
Newly in the esteem of posterity, so long as
The priest climbs the Capitol with the silent virgin.
Where violent Aufidus roars
And where Daunus, lacking water, ruled over rustic peoples
I shall be spoken of as a powerful leader, from humble beginnings,
Who brought Aeolian verse to Italian metres. Accept your well-earnt pride,
Melpomene, and, if you would,
Crown my hair with Delphic laurel.

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