Billeder på siden
PDF
ePub

scent. I say, as I thus sat joying in my own happy condition, and pitying this poor rich man, that owned this and many other pleasant groves and meadows about me, I did thankfully remember what my Saviour said, that the meek possess the earth ; or rather, they enjoy what the others possess and enjoy not; for anglers and meek quiet-spirited men, are free from those high, those restless thoughts, which corrode the sweets of life: and they, and they only, can say, as the poet has happily expressed it :

Hail, blest estate of lowliness!

Happy enjoyments of such minds,
As rich in self-contentedness,

Can, like the reeds in roughest winds,
By yielding make that blow but small,

At which proud oaks and cedars fall. There came also into my mind at that certain verses in praise of a mean estate and an humble mind; they were written by Phineas Fletcher, an excellent divine, and an excellent angler, and the author of excellent Piscatory eclogues, in which you shall see the picture of this good man's mind, and I wish mine to be like it. No empty hopes, no courtly fears him fright, No begging wants, his middle fortune bite, But sweet content exiles both misery and spite. His certain life, that never can deceive him,

Is full of thousand sweets, and rich content ; The smooth-leav'd beeches in the field receive him,

With coolest shade, till noontide's heat be spent : His life is neither tost in boisťorous seas, Or the vexatious world, or lost in slothful ease ; Pleas'd and full blest he lives, when he his God can please. His bed, more safe than soft, yields quiet sleeps,

While by his side his faithful spouse hath place;
His little son into his bosom creeps,

The lively picture of his father's face ;
His humble house, or poor state, ne'er torment him ;
Less he could like, if less his God had lent him,
And when he dies, green turfs do for a tomb content him.

Gentlemen, these were a part of the thoughts that then possessed me, and I there made a conversion of a piece of an old catch, and added more to it, fitting them to be sung by us anglers : come, master, you can sing well, you must sing a part of it as it is in

this paper.

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

Man's life is but vain; for 'tis subject to pain,

And sorrow, and short as a bubble;
'Tis a hodge-podge of business, and money, and care,

And care, and money, and trouble.
But we'll take no care when the weather proves fair;

Nor will we vex now tho' it rain;
We'll banish all sorrow, and sing till to-morrow,

And angle and angle again.
Pet. I marry, Sir, this is music indeed, this has
cheered my heart, and made me to remember six
verses in praise of music, which I will speak to you
instantly.

Music, miraculous rhet'ric, that speak'st sense
Without a tongue, excelling eloquence ;
With what case might thy errors be excus’d,
Wert thou as truly lov'd as th' art abus'd ?
But though dull souls neglect, and some reprove thee,

I cannot hate thee, 'cause the Angels love thee.
VEN. And the repetition of these last verses of
music has called to my memory what Mr. Ed. Waller,
a lover of the angle, says of love and music.

While I listen to thy voice,

Chloris, I feel my life decay;
That powerful noise

Calls my fleeting soul away;
Oh! suppress that magic sound,
Which destroys without a wound.
Peace, Chloris, peace, or singing die.
That together you and I

To heaven may go:

For all we know
Of what the blessed do above

Is, that they sing, and that they love. Pisc. Well remembered, brother Peter, these verses came seasonably, and we thank you heartily. Come, we will all join together, my host and all, and sing my scholar's catch over again, and then each man drink the other cup, and to bed, and thank God we have a dry house over our heads.

Pisc. Well now, good-night to everybody.
Per. And so say I.
VEN. And so say I.
COR, Good-night to you all, and I thank you.

Pisc. Good-morrow, brother Peter, and the like to you, honest Coridon : come, my hostess says there is seven shillings to pay, let's each man drink a pot for his morning draught, and lay down his two shillings, that so my hostess may not have occasion to repent herself of being so diligent, and using us so kindly.

Per. The motion is liked by everybody, and so, hostess, here's your money; we anglers are all beholding to you, it will not be long ere I'll see you again. And now, brother Piscator, I wish you and my brother, your scholar, a fair day and good fortune. Come, Coridon, this is our way.

[graphic][merged small]

Of Roach and DACE, and how to fish for them;

and of CADIS. VENATOR.

OOD master, as we go now towards

London, be still so courteous as to

give me more instructions, for I G have several boxes in my memory,

in which I will keep them all very safe, there shall not one of them

be lost. Pisc. Well, scholar, that I will, and I will hide nothing from you that I can remember, and can think may help you forward towards a perfection in this art; and because we have so much time, and I have said so little of Roach and Dace, I will give you some directions concerning them.

Some say the Roach is so called, from Rutilus, which they say signifies red-fins: he is a fish of no great reputation for his dainty taste, and his spawn is accounted much better than any other part of him. And you may take notice, that as the Carp is accounted the water-fox for his cunning, so the Roach is accounted the water-sheep for his simplicity or foolishness. It is noted that the Roach and

[graphic]

a

[ocr errors]

Dace recover strength, and grow in season in a fortnight after spawning; the Barbel and Chub in a month, the Trout in four months, and the Salmon in the like time, if he gets into the sea, and after into fresh water.

Roaches be accounted much better in the river than in a pond, though ponds usually breed the biggest. But there is a kind of bastard small Roach that breeds in ponds with a very forked tail, and of a very small size, which some say is bred by the Bream and right Roach, and some ponds are stored with these beyond belief; and knowing men that know their difference, call them Ruds; they differ from the true Roach, as much as a Herring from a Pilchard ; and these bastard breed of Roach are now scattered in many rivers, but I think not in the Thames, which I believe affords the largest and fattest in this nation, especially below London Bridge: the Roach is a leather-mouthed fish, and has a kind of saw-like teeth in his throat. And lastly, let me tell you, the Roach makes an angler excellent sport, especially the great Roaches about London, where I think there be the best Roach-anglers : and I think the best Troutanglers be in Derbyshire, for the waters there are clear to an extremity.

Next, let me tell you, you shall fish for this Roach in winter with paste or gentles, in April with worms or cadis; in the very hot months with little white snails, or with Aies under water, for he seldom takes them at the top, though the Dace will. In many of the hot months, Roaches may also be caught thus : take a May-fly, or ant-fly, sink him with a little lead to the bottom near to the piles or posts of a bridge,

« ForrigeFortsæt »