"I Have Completed a Monument"

(Horace, Odes III.30)

translated by Peter Saint-Andre

I have built a monument
Which will last more years than bronze,
Which will reach far higher than
That royal pile of Pyramids,
Which gnawing rain and furious
North winds lack power to destroy,
Nor chain of years, nor flight of time.
Oblivion won't be complete,
The greatest part of me will live
Beyond the grasp of greedy death.
I'll prosper on, fed fresh with praise.
For while the priest and silent virgin
Still climb the Capitoline hill,
In places high and places low —
Where the raging Aufidus thunders,
Where Daunus lords it over those
Whose farms are starved of life-rich rain —
Forever I will be proclaimed
As having been the very first
To make the songs of ancient Greece
Dance freely to Italian beats.
Melpomene, accept with pride
The honor you've so richly earned:
Place Delphic laurels on my head.

Monadnock Valley Press > Horace