Maecenas, though a valetudinarian tormented by fever and insomnia, clung desperately to life (Pliny, N. H. 7.17; Seneca, Epist. 101). Horace, toying with the astrological superstitions of the age to which Augustus and Maecenas were devoted (Sueton. Aug.94; Dio. 52.36), assures his friend that their horo scopes coincide, and that it is the will of Heaven that they be not divided in their death. The poet's prayer, 'that we may die the selfsame day,' was, in substance, granted. He died B.C. 8, not long after Maecenas, who in his last days wrote to Augustus, Horatii Flacci ut mei memor esto. The allusion to the fall of the tree (27, cf. on 2. 13) makes it probable that the ode was written soon after B.C. 30. Cf. Tennyson's unfulfilled prayer (In Mem. 84): 'Thy spirit should fail from off the globe| What time mine own might also flee,| As linked with thine in love and fate.'
exanimas: so occidis saepe rogando (Epode 14.5); Enicas (Ter. And. 660); ἀποκτείνειν (Eur. Hipp. 1064). Quintil. 8.3. 32 seems to object to the word which is used by Cic. pro Mil. 93. Cf. 'Carcasses exanimate' (F. Q. 2.12.7); 'Be heir to those who are now exanimate' (Sonnets from Port. 33).
amicum: the Homeric φίλον εἶναι--their pleasure, will.
ŏbire: cf. 3.29.11.
decus: cf. 1.1.2. columen: cf. Tenn., 'the pillar of a people's hope'; the 'pillar apostles'; Ter. Phorm. 287, columen vero familiae; Catull. 64.26; Homer's ἕρκος Ἀχαιῶν; Callinus, 20, πύργον; Archil. fr. 17, νάξου . . . κίονας; Alcaeus, fr. 23; Theognis, 233; Pind. O.2.7; Eurip. Alcest. 311, etc.
partem: cf. 1.3.8; Tenii. In Mem. 85, 'I, the divided half of such | A friendship as had master'd time'; Minuc. Felix, 1.3, crederes unam mentem duobus fuisse divisam; Tickell on death of Addison, 'Can I forget the dismal night that gave| My soul's best part forever to the grave?'; and Villon's 'Deux estions et n'avions qu'ung coeur;| S'il est mort, force est que devie.' rapit: 2.13.20.
maturior: premature, untimely. Cf. 1.2.48, ocior. vis: 2.13.20.
carus: Sc. mihi ipsi. Cf. Epist. 1.3.29, si patriae volumus si nobis vivere cari; Plato, Rep. 621 C, ἡμῖν αὐτοῖς φίλοι, wrongly rendered by Jowett, 'dear to one another.' aeque: i.e. as before. So in Greek ὁμοίως. superstes: 3.9. 12, Epode 1. 5, with both carus and integer.
utramque: of both of us.
ducet: not adducet, but dabit, faciet, will cause. Verg. Aen. 2.466, trahere ruinam. non ego: both words are emphatic (ef. 2.7.26), but non goes with perfidum only.
dixi sacramentum: the technical term for soldier's oath (Caes. B. C. 1.23).
utcumque: temporal; cf. on 1. 17.10. supremum: τὴν νεάταν ὁδὸν (Soph. Antig. 807).
carpere: Sat. 1.5.95, carpentes iter; Verg. Georg. 3.142, carpere prata fuga.
Chimaerae: 1.27.24; 4.2.16; Verg. Aen. 6.288. igneae: πυρπνέουσαν (Eurip. Ion, 203). Cf. 1.17.2; 3.3.10.
Si resurgat: were he to rise up to confront me from under the superincumbent mountains. Cf. 3.4.69-73. Gyas: a giant, one of the sons of Heaven and Earth. The spelling of the Mss. varies. Editors generally read Γυής, not Γύγης, in Hes. Theog. 149. Cf. 3.4.69, and Ov. Trist. 4.7.18, centimanumque Gyan.
sic . . . placitum: cf. l. 33. 10.
Iustitiae = Δίκη. Δίκη and Εἴρήνη are sisters of the Fates in Hes. Theog. 902-904. But Horace may be thinking also of Themis and of Sophocles' ξύνοικος τῶν κάτω θεῶν Δίκη(Antig. 451).
whether Libra or the Scorpion, shape of fear, or Capricornus, tyrant of the western wave, be the predominant aspect of my natal hour, the stars of us twain consent in wondrous wise.
Scorpios: the influence of this sign was baleful; fighters were born under it (Manil. 4.220). For Libra, a propitious sign, cf. Manil. 4. 548. adspicit: present, because the in fluence of the constellation under which one is born continues through life. The astrologers seem to have spoken technically of the stars aspecting each other at the birth; but the notion of the star looking down on the birth like a deity was a natural development of this way of speaking. Cf. on 4.3.2.
pars violentior: probably this means simply 'as the predominant,' not 'as the malign' which may be counteracted by the more auspicious stars, such as Libra and Jupiter.
tyrannus: cf. 1.3.15. But here the reference is to the assignment of particular constellations to particular quarters of the globe. Cf. Manil. 4.791, tu, Capricorne, regis quidquid sub sole cadente |expositum; Propert. 5. 1.86.
nostrum: gen. plur. For caesura, cf. on 2.12.25.
consentit: cf. Persius' imitation, 5.45, non equidem hoc dubites amborum foedere certo| consentire dies et ab uno sidere duci; Shaks. Hen. VI. 1, 'the bad revolting stars| That have consented unto Henry's death'; Herrick, Hesp. 106, 'stars consenting with thy fate.' Hence probably, Wordsworth's 'Twice seven consenting years.' astrum: cf. Epist. 2. 2. 187, scit genius natale comes qui temperat astrum. But Horace obviously does not take it seriously.
tutela: of a deity. Cf. on 4.14.43.; Tibull. 2.5.113. Technically of a constellation (Manil. 2.334; 4.698 et passim). Saturno: with both refulgens (cf. 1.12.28) and eripuit. Saturn a malign star; Propert. 5.1.84, et grave Saturni sidus in omne caput. refulgens: shining in opposition, and so counteracting the influence of.
volucris: with alas. Fati: death,
alas: cf. Sat. 2.1.58, seu Mors atris circumvolat alis; Eurip. Alcest. 260, πτερωτός Ἅιδας; Schol. Alc. 843; Gratius, Cyneg. 343; Byron, 'The angel of death spread his wings on the blast'; Matthew Arnold, 'death's winnowing wings'; Lessing, Wie die Alten den Tod gebildet.'
Cf. on 1.20; Propert. 4.9.4, et manibus faustos ter crepuere sonos.
crepuere: cf. on 1.18.5.
truncus: cf. on 2.13. inlapsus: cf. 'The swift illapse| Of accident disastrous' (Thomson, Summer).
Faunus: the god of the woods and country. Cf. 1.17.2. The incident happened on the Sabine farm. Cf. 3.16.3. sustulerat: The indicative is used to show how close he was to actual death. In 3.4.27 it is the Muses, in 3.8.7 Liber, that saves the poet.
Mercurialium: cf. 1.10 and 2.7.13. Horace playfully wrests the word from its meaning of devotees of Mercury, god of gain (Sat. 2.3.25), and uses it of poets, who were under the protection of Mercury as god of eloquence and inventor of the lyre (1.10.3, 6).
reddere: cf. on 2.7.17.
nos humilem: for similar contrast, cf. 4.2.53 and Ov. Trist. 1.10.43, non facit ad nostras hostia maior opes.