Odes 2.17

Latin English







Cur me querellis exanimas tuis?
nec dis amicum est nec mihi te prius
  obire, Maecenas, mearum
    grande decus columenque rerum.

a! te meae si partem animae rapit
maturior vis, quid moror altera,
  nec carus aeque nec superstes
    integer? ille dies utramque

ducet ruinam. non ego perfidum
dixit sacramentum: ibimus, ibimus,
  utcumque praecedes, supremum
    carpere iter comites parati.

me nec Chimaerae spiritus igneae
nec, si resurgat, centimanus Gyas,
  divellet umquam: sic potenti
    Iustitiae placitumque Parcis.

seu Libra seu me Scorpios aspicit
formidolosus pars violentior
  natalis horae seu tyrannus
    Hesperiae Capricornus undae,

utrumque nostrum incredibili modo
consentit astrum. te Iovis impio
  tutela Saturno refulgens
    eripuit volucrisque Fati

tardavit alas, cum populus frequens
laetum theatris ter crepuit sonum;
  me truncus inlapsus cerebro
    sustulerat, nisi Faunus ictum

dextra levasset, Mercurialium
custos virorum. reddere victimas
  aedemque votivam memento;
    non humilem feriemus agnam.

Why dost thou crush out my life by thy complaints?
'Tis the will neither of the gods nor of myself
that I should pass away before thee, Maecenas, the
great glory and prop of my own existence.

Alas, if some untimely blow snatches thee,
the half of my own life, away, why do I, the
other half, still linger on, neither so dear as
before nor surviving whole? That fatal day

shall bring the doom of both of us. No false
oath have I taken; both, both together, will we
go, whene'er thou leadest the way, prepared
as comrades to travel the final journey.

Me no fiery breath of Chimaera, nor
hundred-handed Gyas, should he rise against
me, shall ever tear from thee. Such is the will
of mighty Justice and the Fates.

Whether Libra or dread Scorpio or
Capricornus, lord of the Hesperian wave,
dominates my horoscope as the more potent
influence of my natal hour, the stars of us

twain are wondrously linked together. To thee
the protecting power of Jove, outshining that
of baleful Saturn, brought rescue, and stayed

the wings of swift Fate what time the
thronging people thrice broke into glad
applause in the theatre. Me the trunk of a tree,
descending on my head, had snatched away,

had not Faunus, protector of poets, with his
right hand warded off the stroke. Remember
then to offer the victims due and to build a
votive shrine! I will sacrifice a humble lamb.

In Odes II.17 Horace expresses his friendship for Maecenas, calling him "the great glory and prop of my own existence" and "half of my own life." So deep is his love for his friend that Horace vows not to outlive him for long (something that actually happened years later when Horace died in 8 B.C. shortly after Maecenas). For the moment, though, both men are safe after recent rescues from danger--Maecenas by Jupiter and Horace by Faunus. Here Horace refers again to the incident of the tree on his estate that nearly killed him when it fell unexpectedly (see Odes II.13 and III.4).

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Epistles: 1.7 | 1.10 | 1.14 | 1.16 | 1.18
Epode: 2
Odes: 1.17 | 1.20 | 1.22 | 2.13 | 2.17 | 2.18 | 3.1 | 3.4 | 3.8 | 3.13 | 3.18 | 3.22 | 3.23 | 3.29
Satires: 2.3 | 2.6 | 2.7
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