The battle finally begins. Details of the battle, we learn, are missing in some of the alleged gaps in the text. Aristotle flings an arrow at Bacon, which misses and hits Descartes.
Homer kills many. Virgil is a bit slow and his helmet is too big. Dryden appears, claiming descent from Virgil, and tricks Virgil into changing armor with him. (Virgil’s was better.)The Roman poet Lucan and the Modern epic poet Blackmore agree to exchange gifts and fight no more. The goddess Dulness gives the translator Thomas Creech a flying figure of the poet Horace to fight, but it goes badly for him—in the tradition of another poor translator, John Ogleby. The Greek poet Pindar slays many and finally faces the Modern named Abraham Cowley, to whom Pindar shows no mercy and cuts in two. Venus takes the better half of his body.
After another gap in the text comes “The Episode of Bentley and Wotton.” The Moderns are almost ready to retreat when Bentley takes up their cause. He is contentious and “malignant,” having a talent of lowbrow “railing,” which is serviceable enough in politics, at least. He is rude to the Moderns and turns to his friend Wotton for help, The two of them march past the tomb of Aldrovandus, the Modern naturalist.They find two Ancients asleep.
Bentley goes forward while Wotton stands back. Bentley is about to kill an Ancient, when Affright (a child of one of the deities), sensing danger, stops him, with the two Ancients scaring him simply by moving in their sleep. He at least takes their armor.Wotton, meanwhile, tries to drink at the fountain on Mt. Helicon (sacred to the Muses; the fountain is named Helicon), but Apollo prevents him from getting anything but mud. Wotton attempts to kill Sir William Temple (a Modern who seems to be on the Ancients’ side) with divine help, but fails. Apollo is so furious at Wotton’s attempt that Apollo orders Boyle to get revenge.
Boyle catches up to the fleeing Wotton but, seeing Bentley with the armor, chases Bentley. The three of them fight. The divine Pallas helps Boyle. Bentley and Wotton are killed with a single stroke, and the two men die intertwined, almost indistinguishable from one another, like a pair of skewered woodcocks