History of Columbia University Inscription, Columbia University, New York City

[first picture and quotes taken from this site; second picture labeled; third picture: my edits for legibility]

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Inscription Outside Columbia’s Law Library, New York City


The Latin on this plaque is great: “The monuments of the architect look down from above throughout the years.” Nice thought, right? The real magic with this Latin phrase is the careful consideration of meter. Shakespeare was a master of iambic pentameter (e.g., “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day”), but for many poets from antiquity, the dactylic hexameter was the weapon of choice. (You can listen to a rather…enthusiastic recitation of it here.) McKim’s plaque, too, follows this metrical pattern. I leave the extra-credit scanning for you budding Latinists out there.

quote above from this site

photograph mine