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Pleasure or profit, either prose or rhyme,
If not at first, will doubtless take in time.
Here sits, in secret, bless'd Theology,
Waited upon by grave Philosophy,-
Both natural and moral ; History,
Deck'd and adorn'd with flowers of Poetry,
The matter and expression striving which
Shall most excel in worth, yet not seem rich.
There is no danger in his baits ; that hook
Will prove the safest that is surest took.
Nor are we caught alone, but, which is best,
We shall be wholesome, and be toothsome dress'd;
Dress’d to be fed, not to be fed upon:
And danger of a surfeit here is none.
The solid food of serious contemplation
Is sauced here with such harmless recreation,
That an ingenuous and religious mind
Cannot inquire for more than it may find
Ready at once prepared, either t'excite
Or satisfy a curious appetite.
More praise is due : for 'tis both positive
And truth, which once was interrogative,
And utter'd by the poet, then in jest, -
Et piscatorem piscis amare potest.
Cu. HARVIE,* Muster of Arts.
MR. IZAAK WALTON,
IN PRAISE OF ANGLING, WHICH WE BOTH LOVE,
Down by this smooth stream's wandering side,
Adorn’d and perfumed with the pride
Of Flora's wardrobe, where the shrill
Aërial choir express their skill,
First, in alternate melody,
And then in chorus all agree.
Whilst the charm'd fish, as ecstasied
With sounds to his own throat denied,
Scorns his dull element, and springs
I'th' air, as if his fins were wings. Supposed to be Christopher Harvie, for whom see Athen. Oron. vol. i. et vide infra, chap. v.
'Tis here that pleasures sweet and high Prostrate to our embraces lie : Such as to body, soul, or fame, Create no sickness, sin, or shame : Roses, not fenced with pricks, grow here; No sting to th' honey bag is near : But, what's perhaps their prejudice, They difficulty want and price.
An obvious rod, a twist of hair,
With hook bid in an insect, are
Engines of sport would fit the wish
O'th' epicure, and fill his dish.
In this clear stream let fall a grub,
And straight take up a Dace or Chub.
l'th’mud, your worm provokes a snig,
Which being fast, if it prove big,
The Gotham folly will be found
Discreet, ere ta'en she must be drown'd.
The Tench, physician of the brook,
In yon dead hole expects your hook :
Which, having first your pastime been,
Serves then for meat and medicine.
Ambush'd behind that root doth stay
A Pike; to catch, and be a prey.
The treacherous quill in this slow stream
Betrays the hunger of a Bream.
And at that nimble ford, no doubt,
Your false fly cheats a speckled Trout.
When you these creatures wisely choose
To practise on, which to your use
Owe their creation, and when
Fish from your arts do rescue men,
To plot, delude, and circumvent,
Ensnare, and spoil, is innocent.
Here by these crystal streams you may
Preserve a conscience clear as they ;
And when by sullen thoughts you find
Your harassed, not busied, mind
In sable melancholy clad,
Distemper'd, serious, turning sad ;
Hence fetch your cure, cast in your bait,
All anxious thoughts and cares will straight
Fly with such speed, they'll seem to be
Possess'd with the hydrophobie :
The water's calmness in your breast,
And smoothness on your brow, shall rest.
Away with sports of charge and noise,
And give me cheap and silent joys ;
Such as Actæon's game pursue,
Their fate oft makes the tale seem true.
The sick or sullen hawk, to-day,
Flies not; to-morrow, quite away.
Patience and purse to cards and dice
Too oft are made a sacrifice :
The daughter's dower, th' inheritance
O'th'son, depend on one mad chance.
The harms and mischiefs which th' abuse
Of wine doth every day produce,
Make good the doctrine of the Turks,
That in each grape a devil lurks.
And by yon fading sapless tree,
'Bout which the ivy twined you see,
His fate's foretold who fondly places
His bliss in woman's soft embraces :
All pleasures, but the angler's, bring
l' the tail repentance, like a sting.
Then on these banks let me sit down,
Free from the toilsome sword and gown ;
And pity those that do affect
To conquer nations and protect.
My.reed affords such true content,
Delights so sweet and innocent,
As seldom fall unto the lot
Of sceptres, though they ’re justly got.
Tho. WEAVER,* Master of Arts.
This book is so like you,
For harmless mirth, expression, art, and wit,
That I protest, ingenuously 'tis true,
I love this mirth, art, wit, the book, and you.
Rob. FLOUD, C.
Son of Thomas Weaver, of Worcester. See Wood's Athen, Oson. + Elder brother of Walton's first wife.
TO THE READERS
OF MY MOST INGENUOUS FRIEND'S BOOK,
He that both knew and writ the Lives of men,
Such as were once, but must not be again ;
Witness his matchless Donne and Wotton, by
Whose aid he could their speculations try :
He that conversed with angels, such as were
Ouldsworth* and Featly,t each a shining star
Shewing the way to Bethlem ; each a saint,
Compared to whom our zealots, now, but paint :
He that our pious and learn'd Morley # knew,
And from him suck'd wit and devotion too :
He that from these such excellencies fetch'd,
That He could tell how high and far they reach'd ;
What learning this, what graces th' other had ;
And in what several dress each soul was clad :
Reader, this He, this fisherman, comes forth,
And in these fisher's weeds would shroud his worth.
Now his mute harp is on a willow hung,
With which, when finely touch'd and fitly strung,
He could friends' passions for these times allay,
Or chain his fellow anglers from their prey.
But now the music of his pen is still,
And he sits by a brook watching a quill,
Where with a fix'd eye and a ready hand,
He studies first to hook, and then to land
Some Trout, or Perch, or Pike ; and having done,
Sits on a bank, and tells how this was won,
And that escaped his hook, which with a wile
Did eat the bait, and fisherman beguile.
Thus whilst some ver’d they from their lands are thrown,
He joys to think the waters are his own ;
And like the Dutch, he gladly can agree
To live at peace now, and have fishing free.
April 3, 1650.
Edv. Powell,Ợ Master of Arts.
Dr. Richard Holdsworth. See an account of him in the Fasti Ozon. 207 ; and in Ward's Lives of the Gresham Professors.
| Dr. Daniel Featly, for whom see Athen. Oxon. 603.
# Dr. George Morley, Bishop of Winchester.
§ Edward Powell, of the borough of Stafford.
WOOD-CUTS. 1. Walton's Original Dedication, Tail-piece: View of Madely
Manor-house, Staffordshire ; the Seat of John Offey, Esq., to whom the Epistle is addressed. Drawn and Engraved by T. Mosses, from the plate, by M. Burghers, contained in Dr. Plot's Natural History of Staffordshire : Oxf. 1686.
folio. Epistle Dedicatory. 2. Walton's Original Preface, Tail-piece : Cupids emblematical
of Theory and Practice. Drawn by J. Meadows: Engraved by W. Hughes. Epistle to the Reader.
“ That Art was not to be taught by words, but practice : and so
must Angling." 3. Tail-piece : Nature furnishing her Children with the rude Im
plements of Angling. Drawn by J. Meadows: Engraved
by H. White. List of Embellishments. 4. Head-piece : Portraits and Arms of Dr. John Donne, George
Herbert, Bishop Sanderson, Richard Hooker, and Sir Henry
Wotton; whose Lives were written by Walton.
Drawn by W. H. Brooke : Engraved by G. W. Bonner. Page xxviii. 5. Tail-piece : Portraits and Arms of Thomas Cranmer, Arch
bishop of Canterbury, and Thomas Ken, Bishop of Bath and Wells; both of whom were connected with the family of Walton. Drawn by W. H. Brooke: Engraved by G. W.
Bonner. Page li. 6. Fac-Simile of the Hand-writing of Izaak Walton. From an
Original Presentation Note contained in a copy of his Lives, in the possession of the Right Honourable the Earl of Gosford. By the side of which, is a copy from the Impression of a Seal given by Dr. Donne to I. Walton : Traced and Drawn by R. Thomson : Engraved by W. Hughes. Page lvi.