The Compleat Angler, by Izaac Walton

The Complete ANGLER.

OR, The contemplative Mans RECREATION.

CHAP. I.

PISCATOR, VIATOR

Piscator. You are wel overtaken Sir; a good morning to you; I have stretch’d my legs up Totnam Hil to overtake you, hoping your businesse may occasion you towards Ware, this fine pleasant fresh May day in the Morning.

Viator. Sir. I shall almost answer your hopes: for my purpose is to be at Hodsden (three miles short of that Town) I wil not say, before I drink; but before I break my fast: for I have appointed a friend or two to meet me there at the thatcht house, about nine of the clock this morning; and that made me so early up, and indeed, to walk so fast.

Pisc. Sir, I know the thatcht house very well: I often make it my resting place, and taste a cup of Ale there, for which liquor that place is very remarkable; and to that house I shall by your favour accompany you, and either abate of my pace, or mend it, to enjoy such a companion as you seem to be, knowing that (as the Italians say) Good company makes the way seem shorter.

Viat. It may do so Sir, with the help of good discourse, which (me thinks) I may promise from you, that both look and speak so cheerfully. And to invite you to it, I do here promise you, that for my part, I will be as free and open-hearted, as discretion will warrant me to be with a stranger.

Pisc. Sir, I am right glad of your answer; and in confidence that you speak the truth, I shall (Sir) put on a boldness to ask, whether pleasure or businesse has occasioned your Journey.

Viat. Indeed, Sir, a little business, and more pleasure: for my purpose is to bestow a day or two in hunting the Otter (which my friend that I go to meet, tells me is more pleasant then any hunting whatsoever:) and having dispatched a little businesse this day, my purpose is tomorrow to follow a pack of dogs of honest Mr. ——— — who hath appointed me and my friend to meet him upon Amwel hill to morrow morning by day break.

Pisc. Sir, my fortune hath answered my desires; and my purpose is to bestow a day or two in helping to destroy some of those villainous vermin: for I hate them perfectly, because they love fish so well, or rather, because they destroy so much: indeed, so much, that in my judgment, all men that keep Otter dogs ought to have a Pension from the Commonwealth to incourage them to destroy the very breed of those base Otters, they do so much mischief.

Viat. But what say you to the Foxes of this Nation? would not you as willingly have them destroyed? for doubtlesse they do as much mischief as the Otters.

Pisc. Oh Sir, if they do, it is not so much to me and my Fraternitie, as that base Vermin the Otters do.

Viat. Why Sir, I pray, of what Fraternity are you, that you are so angry with the poor Otter?

Pisc. I am a Brother of the Angle, and therefore an enemy to the Otter, he does me and my friends so much mischief; for you are to know, that we Anglers all love one another: and therefore do I hate the Otter perfectly, even for their sakes that are of my Brotherhood.

Viat. Sir, to be plain with you, I am sorry you are an Angler: for I have heard many grave, serious men pitie, and many pleasant men scoff at Anglers.

Pisc. Sir, There are many men that are by others taken to be serious grave men, which we contemn and pitie; men of sowre complexions; mony-getting-men, that spend all their time first in getting, and next in anxious care to keep it: men that are condemn’d to be rich, and alwayes discontented, or busie. For these poor-rich-men, wee Anglers pitie them; and stand in no need to borrow their thoughts to think our selves happie: For (trust me, Sir) we enjoy a contentednesse above the reach of such dispositions.

And as for any scoffer, qui mockat mockabitur. Let mee tell you, (that you may tell him) what the wittie French-man [the Lord Mountagne in his Apol. for Ra–Se-bond.] sayes in such a Case. When my Cat and I entertaine each other with mutuall apish tricks (as playing with a garter,) who knows but that I make her more sport then she makes me? Shall I conclude her simple, that has her time to begin or refuse sportivenesse as freely as I my self have? Nay, who knows but that our agreeing no better, is the defect of my not understanding her language? (for doubtlesse Cats talk and reason with one another) and that shee laughs at, and censures my folly, for making her sport, and pities mee for understanding her no better? To this purpose speaks Mountagne concerning Cats: And I hope I may take as great a libertie to blame any Scoffer, that has never heard what an Angler can say in the justification of his Art and Pleasure.

But, if this satisfie not, I pray bid the Scoffer put this Epigram into his pocket, and read it every morning for his breakfast (for I wish him no better;) Hee shall finde it fix’d before the Dialogues of Lucian (who may be justly accounted the father of the Family of all Scoffers:) And though I owe none of that Fraternitie so much as good will, yet I have taken a little pleasant pains to make such a conversion of it as may make it the fitter for all of that Fraternity.

Lucian well skill’d in scoffing, this has writ,

Friend, that’s your folly which you think your wit;

This you vent oft, void both of wit and fear,

Meaning an other, when your self you jeer.

But no more of the Scoffer; for since Solomon sayes, he is an abomination to men, he shall be so to me; and I think, to all that love Vertue and Angling.

Viat. Sir, you have almost amazed me [Pro 24. 9]: for though I am no Scoffer, yet I have (I pray let me speak it without offence) alwayes look’d upon Anglers as more patient, and more simple men, then (I fear) I shall finde you to be.

Piscat. Sir, I hope you will not judge my earnestnesse to be impatience: and for my simplicitie, if by that you mean a harmlessnesse, or that simplicity that was usually found in the Primitive Christians, who were (as most Anglers are) quiet men, and followed peace; men that were too wise to sell their consciences to buy riches for vexation, and a fear to die. Men that lived in those times when there were fewer Lawyers; for then a Lordship might have been safely conveyed in a piece of Parchment no bigger then your hand, though several skins are not sufficient to do it in this wiser Age. I say, Sir, if you take us Anglers to be such simple men as I have spoken of, then both my self, and those of my profession will be glad to be so understood. But if by simplicitie you meant to expresse any general defect in the understanding of those that professe and practice Angling, I hope to make it appear to you, that there is so much contrary reason (if you have but the patience to hear it) as may remove all the anticipations that Time or Discourse may have possess’d you with, against that Ancient and laudable Art.

Viat. Why (Sir) is Angling of Antiquitie, and an Art, and an art not easily learn’d?

Pisc. Yes (Sir:) and I doubt not but that if you and I were to converse together but til night, I should leave you possess’d with the same happie thoughts that now possesse me; not onely for the Antiquitie of it, but that it deserves commendations; and that ’tis an Art; and worthy the knowledge and practice of a wise, and a serious man.

Viat. Sir, I pray speak of them what you shall think fit; for wee have yet five miles to walk before wee shall come to the Thatcht house. And, Sir, though my infirmities are many, yet I dare promise you, that both my patience and attention will indure to hear what you will say till wee come thither: and if you please to begin in order with the antiquity, when that is done, you shall not want my attention to the commendations and accommodations of it: and lastly, if you shall convince me that ’tis an Art, and an Art worth learning, I shall beg I may become your Scholer, both to wait upon you, and to be instructed in the Art it self.

Pisc. Oh Sir, ’tis not to be questioned, but that it is an art, and an art worth your Learning: the question wil rather be, whether you be capable of learning it? For he that learns it, must not onely bring an enquiring, searching, and discerning wit; but he must bring also that patience you talk of, and a love and propensity to the art itself: but having once got and practised it, then doubt not but the Art will (both for the pleasure and profit of it) prove like to Vertue, a reward to it self.

Viat. Sir, I am now become so ful of expectation, that I long much to have you proceed in your discourse: And first, I pray Sir, let me hear concerning the antiquity of it.

Pisc. Sir, I wil preface no longer, but proceed in order as you desire me: And first for the Antiquity of Angling, I shall not say much; but onely this; Some say, it is as ancient as Deucalions Floud: and others (which I like better) say, that Belus (who was the inventer of godly and vertuous Recreations) was the Inventer of it: and some others say, (for former times have had their Disquisitions about it) that Seth, one of the sons of Adam, taught it to his sons, and that by them it was derived to Posterity. Others say, that he left it engraven on those Pillars which hee erected to preserve the knowledg of the Mathematicks, Musick, and the rest of those precious Arts, which by Gods appointment or allowance, and his noble industry were thereby preserved from perishing in Noah’s Floud.

These (my worthy Friend) have been the opinions of some men, that possibly may have endeavoured to make it more ancient then may well be warranted. But for my part, I shall content my self in telling you, That Angling is much more ancient then the incarnation of our Saviour: For both in the Prophet Amos [Chap. 42], and before him in Job [Chap. 41], (which last Book is judged to be written by Moses) mention is made fish-hooks, which must imply Anglers in those times.

But (my worthy friend) as I would rather prove my self to be a Gentleman, by being learned and humble, valiant and inoffensive, vertuous and communicable, then by a fond ostentation of riches; or (wanting these Vertues my self) boast that these were in my Ancestors; [And yet I confesse, that where a noble and ancient Descent and such Merits meet in any man, it is a double dignification of that person:] and so, if this Antiquitie of Angling (which, for my part, I have not forc’d) shall like an ancient Familie, by either an honour, or an ornament to this vertuous Art which I both love and practise, I shall be the gladder that I made an accidental mention of it; and shall proceed to the justification, or rather commendation of it.

Viat. My worthy Friend, I am much pleased with your discourse, for that you seem to be so ingenuous, and so modest, as not to stretch arguments into Hyperbolicall expressions, but such as indeed they will reasonably bear; and I pray, proceed to the justification, or commendations of Angling, which I also long to hear from you.

Pisc. Sir, I shall proceed; and my next discourse shall be rather a Commendation, then a Justification of Angling: for, in my judgment, if it deserves to be commended, it is more then justified; for some practices what may be justified, deserve no commendation: yet there are none that deserve commendation but may be justified.

And now having said this much by way of preparation, I am next to tell you, that in ancient times a debate hath risen, (and it is not yet resolved) Whether Contemplation or Action be the chiefest thing wherin the happiness of a man doth most consist in this world?

Concerning which, some have maintained their opinion of the first, by saying, “[That the nearer we Mortals come to God by way of imitation, the more happy we are:]” And that God injoyes himself only by Contemplation of his own Goodness, Eternity, Infiniteness, and Power, and the like; and upon this ground many of them prefer Contemplation before Action: and indeed, many of the Fathers seem to approve this opinion, as may appear in their Comments upon the words of our Saviour to Martha. [Luk. 10. 41, 42]

And contrary to these, others of equal Authority and credit, have preferred Action to be chief; as experiments in Physick, and the application of it, both for the ease and prolongation of mans life, by which man is enabled to act, and to do good to others: And they say also, That Action is not only Doctrinal, but a maintainer of humane Society; and for these, and other reasons, to be preferr’d before Contemplation.

Concerning which two opinions, I shall forbear to add a third, by declaring my own, and rest my self contented in telling you (my worthy friend) that both these meet together, and do most properly belong to the most honest, ingenious, harmless Art of Angling.

And first I shall tel you what some have observed, and I have found in my self, That the very sitting by the Rivers side, is not only the fittest place for, but will invite the Angler to Contemplation: That it is the fittest place, seems to be witnessed by the children of Israel, [Psal. 137.] who having banish’d all mirth and Musick from their pensive hearts, and having hung up their then mute Instruments upon the Willow trees, growing by the Rivers of Babylon, sate down upon those banks bemoaning the ruines of Sion, and contemplating their own sad condition.

And an ingenuous Spaniard sayes, “[That both Rivers, and the inhabitants of the watery Element, were created for wise men to contemplate, and fools to pass by without consideration.]” And though I am too wise to rank myself in the first number, yet give me leave to free my self from the last, by offering to thee a short contemplation, first of Rivers, and then of Fish: concerning which, I doubt not but to relate to you many things very considerable. Concerning Rivers, there be divers wonders reported of them by Authors, of such credit, that we need not deny them an Historical faith.

As of a River in Epirus, that puts out any lighted Torch, and kindles any Torch that was not lighted. Of the River Selarus, that in a few hours turns a rod or a wand into stone (and our Camden mentions the like wonder in England:) that there is a River in Arabia, of which all the Sheep that drink thereof have their Wool turned into a Vermilion colour. And one of no less credit then Aristotle, [in his Wonders of nature, this is confirmed by Ennius and Solon in his holy History.] tels us of a merry River, the River Elusina, that dances at the noise of Musick, that with Musick it bubbles, dances, and growes sandy, but returns to a wonted calmness and clearness when the Musick ceases. And lastly, (for I would not tire your patience) Josephus, that learned Jew, tells us of a River in Judea, that runs and moves swiftly all the six dayes of the week, and stands still and rests upon their Sabbath day. But Sir, lest this discourse may seem tedious, I shall give it a sweet conclusion out of that holy Poet Mr. George Herbert his Divine Contemplation on Gods providence.

Lord, who hath praise enough, nay, who hath any?

None can express thy works, but he that knows them:

And none can know thy works, they are so many,

And so complete, but only he that owes them.

We all acknowledge both thy power and love

To be exact, transcendent, and divine;

Who does so strangely, and so sweetly move,

Whilst all things have their end, yet none but thine.

Wherefore, most Sacred Spirit, I here present

For me, and all my fellows praise to thee:

And just it is that I should pay the rent,

Because the benefit accrues to me.

And as concerning Fish, in that Psalm [Psal. 104], wherein, for height of Poetry and Wonders, the Prophet David seems even to exceed himself; how doth he there express himselfe in choice Metaphors, even to the amazement of a contemplative Reader, concerning the Sea, the Rivers, and the Fish therein contained. And the great Naturallist Pliny sayes, “[That Natures great and wonderful power is more demonstrated in the Sea, then on the Land.]” And this may appear by the numerous and various Creatures, inhabiting both in and about that Element: as to the Readers of Gesner, Randelitius, Pliny, Aristotle, and others is demonstrated: But I will sweeten this discourse also out of a contemplation in Divine Dubartas, who sayes [in the fifth day],

God quickened in the Sea and in the Rivers,

So many fishes of so many features,

That in the waters we may see all Creatures;

Even all that on the earth is to be found,

As if the world were in deep waters drownd.

For seas (as well as Skies) have Sun, Moon, Stars;

(As wel as air) Swallows, Rooks, and Stares;

(As wel as earth) Vines, Roses, Nettles, Melons,

Mushrooms, Pinks, Gilliflowers and many milions

Of other plants, more rare, more strange then these;

As very fishes living in the seas;

And also Rams, Calves, Horses, Hares and Hogs,

Wolves, Urchins, Lions, Elephants and Dogs;

Yea, Men and Maids, and which I most admire,

The Mitred Bishop, and the cowled Fryer.

Of which examples but a few years since,

Were shewn the Norway and Polonian Prince.

These seem to be wonders, but have had so many confirmations from men of Learning and credit, that you need not doubt them; nor are the number, nor the various shapes of fishes, more strange or more fit for contemplation, then their different natures, inclinations and actions: concerning which I shall beg your patient ear a little longer.

The Cuttle-fish wil cast a long gut out of her throat, which (like as an Angler does his line) she sendeth, forth and pulleth in again at her pleasure, according as she sees some little fish come neer to her [Mount Elsayes: and others affirm this]; and the Cuttle-fish (being then hid in the gravel) lets the smaller fish nibble and bite the end of it; at which time shee by little and little draws the smaller fish so neer to her, that she may leap upon her, and then catches and devours her: and for this reason some have called this fish the Sea–Angler.

There are also lustful and chaste fishes, of which I shall also give you examples.

And first, what Dubartas sayes of a fish called the Sargus; which (because none can express it better then he does) I shall give you in his own words, supposing it shall not have the less credit for being Verse, for he hath gathered this, and other observations out of Authors that have been great and industrious searchers into the secrets of nature.

The Adulterous Sargus doth not only change,

Wives every day in the deep streams, but (strange)

As if the honey of Sea-love delight

Could not suffice his ranging appetite,

Goes courting She–Goats on the grassie shore,

Horning their husbands that had horns before.

And the same Author writes concerning the Cantharus, that which you shall also heare in his own words.

But contrary, the constant Cantharus,

Is ever constant to his faithful Spouse,

In nuptial duties spending his chaste life,

Never loves any but his own dear wife.

Sir, but a little longer, and I have done.

Viat. Sir, take what liberty you think fit, for your discourse seems to be Musick, and charms me into an attention.

Pisc. Why then Sir, I will take a little libertie to tell, or rather to remember you what is said of Turtle Doves: First, that they silently plight their troth and marry; and that then, the Survivor scorns (as the Thracian women are said to do) to out-live his or her Mate; and this is taken for such a truth, that if the Survivor shall ever couple with another, the he or she, not only the living, but the dead, is denyed the name and honour of a true Turtle Dove.

And to parallel this Land Variety & teach mankind moral faithfulness & to condemn those that talk of Religion, and yet come short of the moral faith of fish and fowl; Men that violate the Law, affirm’d by Saint Paul [Rom. 2.14.15] to be writ in their hearts, and which he sayes shal at the last day condemn and leave them without excuse. I pray hearken to what Dubartas sings [5. day.] (for the hearing of such conjugal faithfulness, will be Musick to all chaste ears) and therefore, I say, hearken to what Dubartas sings of the Mullet:

But for chaste love the Mullet hath no peer,

For, if the Fisher hath surprised her pheer,

As mad with woe to shoare she followeth,

Prest to consort him both in life and death.

On the contrary, what shall I say of the House–Cock, which treads any Hen, and then (contrary to the Swan, the Partridg, and Pigeon) takes no care to hatch, to feed, or to cherish his own Brood, but is sensless though they perish.

And ’tis considerable, that the Hen (which because she also takes any Cock, expects it not) who is sure the Chickens be her own, hath by a moral impression her care, and affection to her own Broode, more then doubled, even to such a height, that our Saviour in expressing his love to Jerusalem, [Mat. 23. 37] quotes her for an example of tender affection, as his Father had done Job for a pattern of patience.

And to parallel this Cock, there be divers fishes that cast their spawne on flags or stones, and then leave it uncovered and exposed to become a prey, and be devoured by Vermine or other fishes: but other fishes (as namely the Barbel) take such care for the preservation of their seed, that (unlike to the Cock or the Cuckoe) they mutually labour (both the Spawner, and the Melter) to cover their spawne with sand, or watch it, or hide it in some secret place unfrequented by Vermine, or by any fish but themselves.

Sir, these examples may, to you and others, seem strange; but they are testified, some by Aristotle, some by Pliny, some by Gesner, and by divers others of credit, and are believed and known by divers, both of wisdom and experience, to be a truth; and are (as I said at the beginning) fit for the contemplation of a most serious, and a most pious man.

And that they be fit for the contemplation of the most prudent and pious, and peaceable men, seems to be testified by the practice of so many devout and contemplative men; as the Patriarks or Prophets of old, and of the Apostles of our Saviour in these later times, of which twelve he chose four that were Fishermen: concerning which choice some have made these Observations.

First, That he never reproved these for their Imployment or Calling, as he did the Scribes and the Mony–Changers. And secondly, That he found the hearts of such men, men that by nature were fitted for contemplation and quietness; men of mild, and sweet, and peaceable spirits, (as indeed most Anglers are) these men our blessed Saviour (who is observed to love to plant grace in good natures) though nothing be too hard for him, yet these men he chose to call from their irreprovable imployment, and gave them grace to be his Disciples and to follow him.

And it is observable, that it was our Saviours will that his four Fishermen Apostles should have a prioritie of nomination in the catalogue of his twelve Apostles, as namely first, S. Peter, Andrew, James [Mat. 10.] and John, and then the rest in their order.

And it is yet more observable, that when our blessed Saviour went up into the Mount, at his Transfiguration, when he left the rest of his Disciples and chose onely three to bear him company, that these three were all Fishermen.

And since I have your promise to hear me with patience, I will take a liberty to look back upon an observation that hath been made by an ingenuous and learned man, who observes that God hath been pleased to allow those whom he himselfe hath appointed, to write his holy will in holy Writ, yet to express his will in such Metaphors as their former affections or practise had inclined them to; and he brings Solomon for an example, who before his conversion was remarkably amorous, and after by Gods appointment, writ that Love–Song [the Canticles] betwixt God and his Church.

And if this hold in reason (as I see none to the contrary) then it may be probably concluded, that Moses (whom I told you before, writ the book of Job) and the Prophet Amos were both Anglers, for you shal in all the old Testaments find fish-hooks but twice mentioned; namely, by meek Moses, the friend of God; and by the humble Prophet Amos.

Concerning which last, namely, the Prophet Amos, I shall make but this Observation, That he that shall read the humble, lowly, plain stile of that Prophet, and compare it with the high, glorious, eloquent stile of the prophet Isaiah (though they be both equally true) may easily believe him to be a good natured, plaine Fisher-man.

Which I do the rather believe, by comparing the affectionate, lowly, humble epistles of S. Peter, S. James and S. John, whom we know were Fishers, with the glorious language and high Metaphors of S. Paul, who we know was not.

Let me give you the example of two men more, that have lived nearer to our own times: first of Doctor Nowel sometimes Dean of S. Paul’s, (in which Church his Monument stands yet undefaced) a man that in the Reformation of Queen Elizabeth (not that of Henry the VIII.) was so noted for his meek spirit, deep Learning, Prudence and Piety, that the then Parliament and Convocation, both chose, injoyned, and trusted him to be the man to make a Catechism for publick use, such a one as should stand as a rule for faith and manners to their posteritie: And the good man (though he was very learned, yet knowing that God leads us not to heaven by hard questions) made that good, plain, unperplext Catechism, that is printed with the old Service Book. I say, this good man was as dear a lover, and constant practicer of Angling, as any Age can produce; and his custome was to spend (besides his fixt hours of prayer, those hours which by command of the Church were enjoined the old Clergy, and voluntarily dedicated to devotion by many Primitive Christians:) besides those hours, this good man was observed to spend, or if you will, to bestow a tenth part of his time in Angling; and also (for I have conversed with those which have conversed with him) to bestow a tenth part of his Revenue, and all his fish, amongst the poor that inhabited near to those Rivers in which it was caught, saying often, That Charity gave life to Religion: and at his return would praise God he had spent that day free from worldly trouble, both harmlesly and in a Recreation that became a Church-man.

My next and last example shall be that undervaluer of money, the late Provost of Eaton Colledg, Sir Henry Wotton, (a man with whom I have often fish’d and convers’d) a man whose forraign imployments in the service of this Nation, and whose experience, learning, wit and cheerfulness, made his company to be esteemed one of the delights of mankind; this man, whose very approbation of Angling were sufficient to convince any modest Censurer of it, this man was also a most dear lover, and a frequent practicer of the Art of Angling, of which he would say, “[’Twas an imployment for his idle time, which was not idly spent;]” for Angling was after tedious study “[A rest to his mind, a cheerer of his spirits, a divertion of sadness, a calmer of unquiet thoughts, a Moderator of passions, a procurer of contentedness, and that it begot habits of peace and patience in those that profest and practic’d it.]”

Sir, This was the saying of that Learned man; and I do easily believe that peace, and patience, and a calm content did cohabit in the cheerful heart of Sir Henry Wotton, because I know, that when he was beyond seventy years of age he made this description of a part of the present pleasure that possest him, as he sate quietly in a Summers evening on a bank a fishing; it is a description of the Spring, which because it glides as soft and sweetly from his pen, as that River does now by which it was then made, I shall repeat unto you.

This day dame Nature seem’d in love:

The lustie sap began to move;

Fresh juice did stir th’imbracing Vines,

And birds had drawn their Valentines.

The jealous Trout, that low did lye,

Rose at a well dissembled flie;

There stood my friend with patient skill,

Attending of his trembling quil.

Already were the eaves possest

With the swift Pilgrims dawbed nest:

The Groves already did rejoice,

In Philomels triumphing voice:

The showrs were short, the weather mild,

The morning fresh, the evening smil’d.

Jone takes her neat rubb’d pail, and now

She trips to milk the sand-red Cow;

Where for some sturdy foot-ball Swain.

Jone strokes a Sillibub or twaine.

The fields and gardens were beset

With Tulips, Crocus, Violet,

And now, though late, the modest Rose

Did more then half a blush disclose.

Thus all looks gay and full of chear

To welcome the new liveried year.

These were the thoughts that then possest the undisturbed mind of Sir Henry Wotton. Will you hear the wish of another Angler, and the commendation of his happy life [Jo. Da.], which he also sings in Verse.

Let me live harmlesly, and near the brink

Of Trent or Avon have a dwelling place,

Where I may see my quil or cork down sink,

With eager bit of Pearch, or Bleak, or Dace;

And on the world and my Creator think,

Whilst some men strive, ill gotten goods t’imbrace;

And others spend their time in base excess

Of wine or worse, in war and wantonness.

Let them that list these pastimes still pursue,

And on such pleasing fancies feed their fill,

So I the fields and meadows green may view,

And daily by fresh Rivers walk at will,

Among the Daisies and the Violets blue,

Red Hyacinth, and yellow Daffadil,

Purple Narcissus, like the morning rayes,

Pale ganderglass and azure Culverkayes.

I count it higher pleasure to behold

The stately compass of the lofty Skie,

And in the midst thereof (like burning Gold)

The flaming Chariot of the worlds great eye,

The watry clouds, that in the aire up rold,

With sundry kinds of painted colour flye;

And fair Aurora lifting up her head,

Still blushing, rise from old Tithonius bed.

The hils and mountains raised from the plains,

The plains extended level with the ground,

The grounds divided into sundry vains,

The vains inclos’d with rivers running round;

These rivers making way through natures chains

With headlong course into the sea profound;

The raging sea, beneath the vallies low,

Where lakes, and rils, and rivulets do flow.

The loftie woods, the Forrests wide and long

Adorn’d with leaves & branches fresh & green,

In whose cool bowres the birds with many a song

Do welcom with their Quire the Sumers Queen:

The Meadows fair, where Flora’s gifts among

Are intermixt, with verdant grass between.

The silver-scaled fish that softly swim,

Within the sweet brooks chrystal watry stream.

All these, and many more of his Creation,

That made the Heavens, the Angler oft doth see,

Taking therein no little delectation,

To think how strange, how wonderful they be;

Framing thereof an inward contemplation,

To set his heart from other fancies free;

And whilst he looks on these with joyful eye,

His mind is rapt above the Starry Skie.

Sir, I am glad my memory did not lose these last Verses, because they are somewhat more pleasant and more sutable to May Day, then my harsh Discourse, and I am glad your patience hath held out so long, as to hear them and me; for both together have brought us within the sight of the Thatcht House; and I must be your Debtor (if you think it worth your attention) for the rest of my promised discourse, till some other opportunity and a like time of leisure.

Viat. Sir, You have Angled me on with much pleasure to the thatcht House, and I now find your words true, That good company makes the way seem short; for, trust me, Sir, I thought we had wanted three miles of the thatcht House, till you shewed it me: but now we are at it, we’l turn into it, and refresh our selves with a cup of Ale and a little rest.

Pisc. Most gladly (Sir) and we’l drink a civil cup to all the Otter Hunters that are to meet you to morrow.

Viat. That we wil, Sir, and to all the lovers of Angling too, of which number, I am now one my self, for by the help of your good discourse and company, I have put on new thoughts both of the Art of Angling, and of all that profess it: and if you will but meet me too morrow at the time and place appointed, and bestow one day with me and my friends in hunting the Otter, I will the next two dayes wait upon you, and we two will for that time do nothing but angle, and talk of fish and fishing.

Pisc. ’Tis a match, Sir, I’l not fail you, God willing, to be at Amwel Hil to morrow morning before Sunrising.

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Last updated Tuesday, March 4, 2014 at 12:30