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[THIS piece is introduced in Walton's Complete Angler (pp. 348-350. ed. 1655) with the following preface :"When you have pledged me, I will repeat the Verses which I promised you; it is a copy printed amongst Sir Henry Wottons Verses, and doubtlesse made either by him, or by a lover of Angling: Come, Master, now drink a glasse to me, and then I will pledge you, and fall to my repetition; it is a description of such Country recreations as I have enjoyed since I had the happinesse to fall into your company.' When the "repetition" is concluded, Piscator says, "Trust me (Scholer) I thank you heartily for these Verses; they be choicely good, and doubtlesse made by a lover of Angling." Mr. Ellis, therefore, inserts part of them in his Collection under the name of Sir Henry Wotton (ii. 365).


Sir Egerton Brydges gives them the first place in his edition of the Poems of Sir Walter Raleigh, with the note:



"Errors will seem to strike the hasty Critic in the commencement of this Collection, for A Description of the Country's Recreations has been generally printed as Sir Henry Wotton's. But it is clearly distinguished from Wotton's own in the Reliquia;' and though it is marked by the deep moral cast of that eloquent and instructive writer, it is not unbecoming the vigorous mind, the worldly experience, and the severe disappointments of Raleigh." That is to say, Raleigh might have written it, therefore he did write it ;—an argument which will scarcely stand. Yet Sir Egerton gives no other evidence, except the signature Ignoto in Rel. Wotton.,—evidence, however, which he thought so conclusive, that he claims for Raleigh all the other pieces in Rel. Wotton. which are marked in the same way. Now even if this word Ignoto were admitted to be a "slight designation of" Raleigh's "property" (as Ellis calls it) in the earlier Miscellanies,—an admission against which I have a few objections to urge elsewhere,—it is certainly none when Izaak Walton uses it, or we should have found Raleigh's name, not Wotton's, in the passage which I have cited above. It is evident, that Walton placed the piece among the doubtful poems when he edited Rel. Wotton., because he had no positive proof that Wotton wrote it; but it is equally evident that he knew nothing of any other claimant, from the expressions he used about it when he wrote the Angler. If he could not establish Wotton's claim, of course we cannot; but Wotton certainly ought to have the benefit of his editor's hesitation on the subject.

The Variations are from the copy in the Complete Angler (marked W.) and from one which is printed anonymously in Clifford's Tixall Poetry (pp. 297-300) with the title, "Rusticatio Religiosi in Vacantiis" (marked T.).]

* Hence it is retained in the Oxford ed. of Raleigh's Works, viii. 697, from which Mr. Tytler has taken it, and supplied it with a running commentary, fitted to Raleigh's circumstances. Life of Ral. p. 198, ed. 1840.

UIVERING fears, Heart-tearing cares,
Anxious sighs, Untimely tears,
Fly, fly to Courts !

Fly to fond worldlings sports,

[5] Where strain'd Sardonick smiles are [g]losing



[10] Sad troop of human misery!

Come, serene looks,


And grief is forc'd to laugh against her will;
Where mirth's but mummery,
And sorrows only real be!

Fly from our Country pastimes! fly,

Clear as the Chrystal brooks,

Or the pure azur'd Heaven, that smiles to see
The rich attendance of our poverty !
Peace, and a secure mind,

(Which all men seek,) we only find.

Abused Mortals! did you know

Where Joy, Hearts ease, and comforts grow,
You'd scorn proud towers,

And seek them in these bowers,

Where winds sometimes our woods perhaps may


But blustring care could never tempest make,
Nor murmurs e're come nigh us,
Saving of Fountains that glide by us.

[25] Here's no fantastick Mask, nor dance, But of our Kids, that frisk and prance: Nor wars are seen,

Unless upon the green

Two harmless Lambs are butting one the other; [30] Which done, both bleating run, each to his Mother: And wounds are never found,

Save what the Plow-share gives the



Here are no false entrapping baits,

To hasten too too hasty fates;
Unless it be

The fond Credulity

Of silly fish, which, worldling-like, still look
Upon the Bait, but never on the Hook:
Nor envy, unless among

The Birds, for prize of their sweet song.

Go! let the diving Negro seek

For Gemms hid in some forlorn creek;
We all Pearls scorn,

Save what the dewy morn

[45] Congeals upon each little spire of grass,
Which careless Shepherds beat down as they
And Gold ne're here appears, [pass;
Save what the yellow Ceres bears.

* On this expression, see Halliwell's note on the old 3 Hen. vi. p. 196, and Shakesp. Soc. Papers, i. 39–43. Mr. H. would print it as one word, "too-too."


Blest, silent Groves! O may ye be [50] For ever Mirth's best Nursery! May pure contents

For ever pitch their Tents

Upon these Downs, these Meads, these Rocks,
these Mountains,

And peace still slumber by these purling Foun-
Which we may every year

Find when we come a fishing here.


[VARIATIONS. 3. In Rel. Wotton. 1654 and 1672, 'Fly, fly to the Courts.' It is as I have given it in ed. 1651, and in the other copies.-4. Fly to find worldly harts'-T.-5. 'closing' ed. 1672. It is 'glosing' in eds. 1651 and 1654, and in the other copies.-6. 'his will'-T.-7. 'Where mirth is but'-T.-9. 'pastime'-T.-10. ' troops'-W. and T.-11. ' serened'-T.-12. 'these cristall'-T.-13. 'azure'-T.-14. 'on our'-W.-22. ' can never'-T.-24. 'which glide'-T.-25.'or dance'-T.—31. 'Nor wounds are ever found'-T.-33. 'false' om. W.-37.' worldlings like'-T.-38. 'and never'-T.-40. 'for price of'-W. 'for praise of'-T.-42. 'hid' om. T.-43. 'We pearles do scorne'-T. -45. 'little' om. T.-48.' But what'-T.-49. 'Sweet silent.... you be'-T. 'you be' also in W.-50. 'blest nursery'-T.-53. "Upon these meads, these downs'-T.-56. ' Meet when'-W. ed. 3.- to sojourne here'-T.]

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