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INTRODUCTION

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IZAAK, son of Jervis Walton, came of a yeoman family long settled in Staffordshire, and was born on August 9, 1593, in the parish of St. Mary, Stafford. The customary spelling of his Christian name common in his day, and ordinarily used by himself. Having lost his father in his infancy, he came to London as a boy, and was apprenticed to a relative who was an ironmonger. Before he was twenty, a certain S. P., probably a Deptford clergyman named Page, dedicated to him his Love of Amos and Laura, to the second edition of which, in 1619, he prefixed an address to him, containing the line, No ill thing can be clothed in thy verse.' Walton, therefore, began early to write the innocent, if undistinguished, poetry of which later examples are preserved. In 1624 he opened a shop in Fleet Street, removing four years later to another a few doors away in Chancery Lane, in the same parish of St. Dunstan in the West. He took his share in various parochial duties, including even that of scavenger. His first wife, Rachel Floud, whom he married in 1626, was a relative of Archbishop Cranmer. The loss of their seven young children, no uncommon calamity in the crowded insanitary London of those days, and finally, in 1640, of his wife, clouded the happiness of his life; the outbreak of the Civil War found him, a convinced Royalist, in a hostile city and occasioned material losses ; and in 1644, when the king's cause seemed lost, he retired from business and left London, finding it dangerous', as Anthony à Wood writes,

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