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CHAPTER XVI Is of nothing ; or, that which is nothing worth. PISCATOR.

Y purpose was to give you some direc

tions concerning Roach and Dace,

and some other inferior fish, which M

make the angler excellent sport, for you know there is more pleasure in hunting the hare than in eating her:

but I will forbear at this time to say any more, because you see yonder come our brother Peter and honest Coridon: but I will promise you, that as you and I fish, and walk to-morrow towards London, if I have now forgotten anything that I can then remember, I will not keep it from you.

Well met, gentlemen, this is lucky that we meet so just together at this very door. Come, hostess, where are you? is supper ready? Come, first give us drink, and be as quick as you can, for I believe we are all very hungry. Well, brother Peter and Coridon, to you both; come drink, and then tell me what luck of fish: we two have caught but ten Trouts, of which my scholar caught three; look, here's eight, and a brace we gave away: we have had a most pleasant day for fishing and talking, and are returned home both weary and hungry, and now meat and rest will be pleasant.

Pet. And Coridon and I have not had an unpleasant day, and yet I have caught but five Trouts : for indeed we went to a good honest ale-house, and there we played at shovel-board half the day; all the time that it rained we were there, and as merry as they that fished; and I am glad we are now with a dry house over our heads, for hark how it rains and blows. Come, hostess, give us more ale, and our supper with what haste you may: and when we have supped, let us have your song, Piscator, and the catch that your scholar promised us, or else Coridon will be dogged.

Pisc. Nay, I will not be worse than my word, you shall not want my song, and I hope I shall be perfect in it.

Ven. And I hope the like for my catch, which I have ready too, and therefore let's go merrily to supper, and then have a gentle touch at singing and drinking ; but the last with moderation.

Cor. Come, now for your song, for we have fed heartily. Come, hostess, lay a few more sticks on the fire, and now sing when you will.

Pisc. Well then, here's to you, Coridon; and now for my song:

Oh the gallant fisher's life,

It is the best of any;
'Tis full of pleasure, void of strife
And 'tis beloved by many :

Other joys
Are but toys,
Only this
Lawful is,
For our skill

Breeds no ill,
But content and pleasure.

;

In a morning up we rise,

Ere Aurora's peeping,
Drink a cup to wash our eyes,
Leave the sluggard sleeping :

Then we go,
To and fro,
With our knacks
At our backs,
To such streams

As the Thames,
If we have the leisure.

When we please to walk abroad

For our recreation,
In the fields is our abode,
Full of delectation :

Where in a brook
With a hook,
Or a lake,
Fish we take,
There we sit,

For a bit,
Till we fish entangle.

We have gentles in a horn,

We have paste and worms too,
We can watch both night and morn,
Suffer rain and storms too :

None do here
Use to swear :
Oaths do fray
Fish away;
We sit still,

And watch our quill;
Fishers must not wrangle.

If the sun's excessive heat

Make our bodies swelter,
To an osier hedge we get
For a friendly shelter,

Where in a dike
Perch or Pike,

oach or Dace,
We do chase,
Bleak or Gudgeon,

Without grudging,
We are still contented.
Or we sometimes pass an hour

Under a green willow,
That defends us from a shower,
Making earth our pillow,

Where we may
Think and pray,
Before death
Stops our breath:
Other joys

Are but toys,
And to be lamented.

J. CHALKHILL. VEN. Well sung, master; this day's fortune and pleasure, and this night's company and song, do all make me more and more in love with angling. Gentlemen, my master left me alone for an hour this day, and I verily believe he retired himself from talking with me, that he might be so perfect in this song ; was it not, master?

Pisc. Yes, indeed, for it is many years since I learned it, and having forgotten a part of it, I was forced to patch it up by the help of mine own invention, who am not excellent at poetry, as my part of the song may testify: but of that I will say no more, lest you should think I mean by discommending it, to beg your commendations of it. And therefore, without replications, let's hear your catch, scholar, which I hope will be a good one, for you are both musical, and have a good fancy to boot.

Ven. Marry, and that you shall, and as freely as I would have my honest master tell me some more secrets of fish and fishing as we walk and fish towards London to-morrow. But, master, first let me tell you, that very hour which you were absent from me, I sat down under a willow-tree by the water-side, and considered what you had told me of the owner of that pleasant meadow in which you then left me; that he had a plentiful estate, and not a heart to think so: that he had at this time many law-suits depending, and that they both damped his mirth, and took up so much of his time and thoughts, that he himself had not leisure to take the sweet content that I, who pretended no title to them, took in his fields ; for 1 could there sit quietly, and looking on the water, see some fishes sport themselves in the silver streams, others leaping at flies of several shapes and colours; looking on the hills, I could behold them spotted with woods and groves; looking down the meadows, could see here a boy gathering lilies and lady.smocks, and there a girl cropping culverkeys and cowslips, all to make garlands suitable to this present month of May: these, and many other field-flowers, so perfumed the air, that I thought that very meadow like that field in Sicily, of which Diodorus speaks, where the perfumes arising from the place, make all dogs that hunt in it to fall off, and to lose their hottest

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