aleator classicus

Reading at Random in Classical Literature

Horace, Odes 3.30.1-5

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Horace ends his third book of Odes with some bragging about his poetry’s immortality. That we are reading him 2000 years later kind of proves he was right. 🙂

exegi monumentum aere perennius
regalique situ pyramidum altius,
quod non imber edax, non Aquilo impotens
possit diruere aut innumerabilis
annorum series et fuga temporum.

I have built a monument more enduring than bronze and taller than the pyramids’ royal site: neither can devouring rain nor furious northerly wind destroy it, nor the uncountable succession of the years and the flight of time.

The little pun on impotens is quite nice: the wind is both ‘furious’ (impotens in the sense of ‘unable to control itself’), but it is impotens (the basic sense of ‘powerless’, ‘ineffective’) in its inability to destroy the poetry.

Written by aleatorclassicus

August 7, 2010 at 12:00 PM

Posted in Horace

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