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the keystone of the building, and the same cypher, was, by Mr. Cotton's desire, placed in the Title-page of the first edition of his portion of the work, and has been continued in all those since published.
This part of our history will be fully illustrated by the following short epistles which passed on the occasion; and the opportunity is taken of giving the signatures in the genuine autographs of the authors,— that of Walton being also introduced with a more enlarged specimen of his hand-writing in another place.
most worthy Father and Friend, Mr. Izaak WALTON, the Elder.
EING you were pleased, some years past, to grant me your free leave to do what I have here attempted; and observing you never retract any promise, when made in favour even of your meanest friends, I accordingly expect to see these following particular directions for the taking of a Trout, to wait upon your better and more general rules for all sorts of Angling: and, though mine be neither so perfect, so well digested, nor indeed so handsomely couched, as they might have been, in so long a time as since your leave was granted; yet I dare affirm them to be generally true: and they had appeared too in something a neater dress, but that I was surprised with the sudden news of a sudden new edition of your Complete Angler; so that, having but a little more than ten days' time to turn me in, and rub up my memory, for, in truth, I have not, in all this long time, though I have often thought on't, and almost as often resolved to go presently about it, I was forced upon the instant to scribble what I here present you: which I have also endeavoured to accommodate to your own method. And, if mine be clear enough for the honest Brothers of the Angle readily to understand, which is the only thing I aim at, then I have my end,
and shall need to make no further apology; a writing of this kind not requiring, if I were master of any such thing, any eloquence to set it off, or recommend it; so that if you, in your better judgment, or kindness rather, can allow it passable, for a thing of this nature, you will then do me honour, if the Cypher, fixed and carved in the front of my little fishing-house, may be here explained: and to permit me to attend you in public, who, in private, have ever been, am, and ever resolve to be, Sir,
Your most affectionate Son and Servant,
10th of March, 1675 •
To my most honoured Friend, CHARLES COTTON, Esq.
ou now see I have returned you your very pleasant and useful discourse of the Art of Fly-fishing, printed just as it was sent me: for I have been so obedient to your desires, as to endure all the praises you have ventured to fix upon me in it. And, when I have thanked you for them, as the effects of an undissembled love; then, let me tell you, Sir, that I will really endeavour to live up to the character you have given of me; if there were no other reason, yet, for this alone, that you, that love me so well, and always think what you speak, may not, for my sake, suffer by a mistake in your judgement.
And, Sir, I have ventured to fill a part of your margin, by way of paraphrase, for the reader's clearer understanding the situation, both of your Fishing-house, and the pleasantness of that you dwell in. And I have ventured also to give him a copy of verses that you were pleased to send me, now some years past; in which he may see a good picture of both; and so much of your own mind
too, as will make any reader, that is blest with a generous soul, to love you the better. I confess, that for doing this you may justly judge me too bold: if you do, I will say so too; and so far commute for my offence, that, though I be more than a hundred miles from you, and in the eighty-third year of my age, yet I will forget both, and next month begin a pilgrimage to beg your pardon; for I would die in your favour; and till then will live, Sir,
April 29th, 1676.
Your most affectionate Father and Friend,
With this enlarged edition also, appeared, for the first time, the following beautiful verses, exhibiting as favourable a specimen of Cotton's poetical powers, as his whole works could supply.
MR. IZAAK WALTON.
FAREWELL thou busy world! and may
We never meet again :
Here I can eat, and sleep, and pray,
Where nought but vanity and vice do reign.
Good God! how sweet are all things here!
How beautiful the fields appear!
How cleanly do we feed and lie! Lord! what good hours do we keep! How quietly we sleep!
What peace! what unanimity! How innocent from the lewd fashion, Is all our business, all our recreation!
Oh, how happy here's our leisure!
How I love at liberty,
By turns, to come and visit ye!
Dear Solitude, the soul's best friend,
That man acquainted with himself dost make,
And, all his Maker's wonders to entend,
With thee I here converse at will,
And would be glad to do so still,
For, it is thou alone, that keep'st the soul awake.
How calm, and quiet a delight,
Is it, alone
To read, and meditate, and write;
By none offended, and offending none?
To walk, ride, sit, or sleep at one's own ease!
And, pleasing a man's self, none other to displease.
Oh, my beloved Nymph! fair Dove!
Princess of Rivers! how I love
Upon thy flowery banks to lie,
And view thy silver stream,
When gilded by a Summer's beam!
Playing at liberty:
And, with my Angle upon them,
The all of treachery
I ever learn'd industriously to try.
Such streams, Rome's yellow Tiber cannot show,
The Maese, the Danube, and the Rhine,
Are puddle-water all, compared with thine :
And Loire's pure streams yet too polluted are
With thine much purer to compare;
The rapid Garonne, and the winding Seine,
Beloved Dove, with thee
To vie priority;
Nay, Thame and Isis when conjoin'd, submit,
And lay their trophies at thy silver feet.
Oh, my beloved rocks! that rise
To awe the earth and brave the skies:
Giddy with pleasure, to look down,
And from the vales, to view the noble heights above!
Oh, my beloved caves! from Dog-star's heat,
And all anxieties, my safe retreat;