To the Right Worshipful JOHN OFFLEY Of MADELY Manor in the County of Stafford, Esq, My most honoured Friend.
I have made so ill use of your former favors, as by them to be encouraged to intreat that they may be enlarged to the patronage and protection of this Book; and I have put on a modest confidence, that I shall not be denyed, because ’tis a discourse of Fish and Fishing, which you both know so well, and love and practice so much.
You are assur’d (though there be ignorant men of an other belief) that Angling is an Art; and you know that Art better then any that I know: and that this is truth, is demostrated by the fruits of that pleasant labor which you enjoy when you purpose to give rest to your mind, and devest your self of your more serious business, and (which is often) dedicate a day or two to this Recreation.
At which time, if common Anglers should attend you, and be eye-witnesses of the success, not of your fortune, but your skill, it would doubtless beget in them an emulation to be like you, and that emulation might beget an industrious diligence to be so: but I know it is not atainable by common capacities.
Sir, this pleasant curiositie of Fish and Fishing (of which you are so great a Master) has been thought worthy the pens and practices of divers in other Nations, which have been reputed men of great Learning and Wisdome; and amongst those of this Nation, I remember Sir Henry Wotton (a dear lover of this Art) has told me, that his intentions were to write a discourse of the Art, and in the praise of Angling, and doubtless he had done so, if death had not prevented him; the remembrance of which hath often made me sorry; for, if he had lived to do it, then the unlearned Angler (of which I am one) had seen some Treatise of this Art worthy his perusal, which (though some have undertaken it) I could never yet see in English.
But mine may be thought: as weak and as unworthy of common view: and I do here freely confess that I should rather excuse myself, then censure others my own Discourse being liable to so many exceptions; against which, you (Sir) might make this one, That it can contribute nothing to your knowledge; and lest a longer Epistle may diminish your pleasure, I shall not adventure to make this Epistle longer then to add this following truth, That I am really, Sir,
Your most affectionate Friend, and most humble Servant,
Last updated Monday, December 22, 2014 at 10:56