THE BATTLE OF THE
GODS, AND THE ACTS OF ACHILLES.
Achilles' return to the battle, calls a council of the gods, and
permits them to assist either party. The terrors of the combat
described, when the deities are engaged. Apollo encourages Æneas to
meet Achilles. After a long conversation, these two heroes encounter;
but Æneas is preserved by the assistance of Neptune. Achilles falls
upon the rest of the Trojans, and is upon the point of killing
Hector, but Apollo conveys him away in a cloud. Achilles pursues the
Trojans with a great slaughter.
The same day
continues. The scene is in the field before Troy.
Thus round Pelides breathing war and blood
Greece, sheathed in arms, beside her vessels stood;
While near impending from a neighbouring height,
's black battalions wait the shock of fight.
Then Jove to Themis
gives command, to call
The gods to council in the starry hall:
Swift o'er Olympus' hundred hills she flies,
And summons all the senate of the skies.
These shining on, in long procession come
To Jove's eternal adamantine dome.
Not one was absent, not a rural power
That haunts the verdant gloom, or rosy bower;
Each fair-hair'd dryad of the shady wood,
Each azure sister of the silver flood;
All but old Ocean, hoary sire! who keeps
His ancient seat beneath the sacred deeps.
On marble thrones, with lucid columns crown'd,
(The work of Vulcan,) sat the powers around.
Even he whose trident sways the watery reign
Heard the loud summons, and forsook the main,
Assumed his throne amid the bright abodes,
And question'd thus the sire of men and gods:
"What moves the god who heaven and earth commands,
And grasps the thunder in his awful hands,
Thus to convene the whole ethereal state?
Is Greece and Troy
the subject in debate?
Already met, the louring hosts appear,
And death stands ardent on the edge of war."
"'Tis true (the cloud-compelling power replies)
This day we call the council of the skies
In care of human race; even Jove's own eye
Sees with regret unhappy mortals
Far on Olympus' top in secret state
Ourself will sit, and see the hand of fate
Work out our will. Celestial powers! descend,
And as your minds direct, your succour lend
To either host. Troy
soon must lie o'erthrown,