venter: the stomach inflicted a penalty for contemplated gluttony, instead of lending itself to the expected gratification.
 Sestianus: referring probably to P. Sestius, a man especially helpful to Cicero at the time of his exile, and defended by him in a speech still extant when prosecuted in 56 B.C. on a charge of vis. He was apparently a man of irritable temper and vigorous tongue; with v. 12 cf. Cic. Quint. Fr. 2.4.1, etc.
 Antium: otherwise unknown.
 plenam: etc. with a jesting double meaning; the speech was full of venenum and pestilentia for the reader as well as for the unfortunate Antius; cf. Catul. 14.19 (where venena is used of wretched verses), and the collocation of venenum and pestis in Catul. 77.5ff.
 urtica: nettles were a light article of vegetarian diet (cf. Hor. Ep. 1.12.7 abstemius herbis vivis et urtica), and thus well fitted for a patient with influenza; cf. concerning them Plin. NH 22.35 “utilissimam cibis coctam conditamve arteriae tussi cum tisana pectus purgare.”