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as any age can produce: and his custom was to spend besides his fixed hours of prayer, (those hours which, by command of the church, were enjoined the clergy, and voluntarily dedicated to devotion by many primitive Christians,) I say, besides those hours, this good man was observed to spend a tenth part of his time in Angling; and, also, (for I have conversed with those which have conversed with him,) to bestow a tenth part of his revenue, and usually all his fish, amongst the poor that inhabited near to those rivers in which it was caught; saying often, “ that charity gave life to religion :” and, at his return to his house, would praise God he had spent that day free from worldly trouble; both harmlessly, and in a recreation that became a churchman. And this good man was well content, if not desirous, that posterity should know he was an Angler; as may appear by his picture, now to be seen, and carefully kept, in Brazen-nose College; to which he was a liberal benefactor. In which picture he is drawn, leaning on a desk, with his Bible before him ; and on one hand of him, his lines, hooks, and other tackling, lying in a round; and, on his other hand, are his Angle-rods of several sorts;' and by them this is written, “ that he died 13 Feb. 1601, being aged 95 years,
44 of which he had been Dean of St. Paul's church; and that his age neither impaired his hearing,
(1) Fuller, in his Worthies, (Lancashire, page 115,) has thought it worth recording of this pious and learned divine, and that in language so very quaiot as to be but just intelligible, that be was accustomed to fish in the Thames ; and having one day left his bottle of ale in the grass, on the bank of the river, he found it some days after, no bottle but a gun, such the sound at the opening thereof Aud hence, with what degree of sagacity let the reader determine, he seems to derive the original of bottled ale in England. Could he have shewn that the bottle was of leather, it is odds but he had attributed to him the invention of that poble vehicle, and made
his soul in heaven to dwell, For first devising the leatharn bottel; as, in a fit of mauulin devotion, sings the author of a humorous and well. kpowr old ballad.
nor dimmed his eyes, nor weakened his memory, nor made any of the faculties of his mind weak or useless." It is said that Angling and temperance were great causes of these blessings. And I wish the like to all that imitate him, and love the memory of so good a man.
My next and last example shall be that undervaluer of money, the late provost of Eton College, Sir Henry Wotton,' (a man with whom I have often fished and conversed,) a man whose foreign employments in the service of this nation, and whose experience, learning, wit, and cheerfulness, made his company to be esteemed one of the delights of mankind. This man, whose very approbation of Angling were sufficient to convince any modest censurer of it, this man was also a most dear lover, and a frequent practiser of the art of Angling; of which he would say, “it was an employment for his idle time, which was not then idly spent; for Angling was, after a tedious study, a rest to his mind, a cheerer of his spirits, a diverter of sadness, a calmer of unquiet thoughts, a moderator of passions, a procurer of contentedness;” and “ that it begat habits of peace and patience in those that professed and practised it.” Indeed, my friend, you will find Angling to be like the virtue of Humility, which has a calmness of spirit, and a world of other blessings attending upon it. Sir, this was the saying of that learned man.
And I do easily believe, that peace, and patience, and a calm content, did cohabit in the cheerful heart of Sir Henry Wotton, because I know that when he was beyond seventy years of age, he made this description of a part of the present pleasure that possessed him, as he sat quietly, in a summer's evening, on a bank a fishing. It is a description of the spring; which, because it
(1) Of whom see an account in the Life of Walton.
glided as soft and sweetly from his pen, as that river does at this time, by which it was then made, I shall repeat it unto you:
This day dame Nature seem'd in love;
Joan takes her neat-rubb'd pail, and now,
Thus all looks gay, and full of cheer,
These were the thoughts that then possessed the undisturbed mind of Sir Henry Wotton. Will you hear the wish of another Angler, and the commendation of his happy life, which he also sings in verse, viz. Jo. Davors, Esq.
Let me live harmlessly, and near the brink
Of Trent or Avon have a dwelling-place;
With eager bite of Perch, or Bleak, or Dace;
Whilst some men strive ill-gotten goods t'embrace;
And on such pleasing fancies feed their fill;
And daily by fresh Rivers walk at will,
Red Hyacinth, and yellow Daffodil,
(1) The Swallow.
I count it higher pleasure to behold
The stately compass of the lofty sky;
The flaming chariot of the world's great eye;
With sundry kinds of painted colours fly;
The plains extended level with the ground;
The veins enclos'd with rivers running round;
With headlong course into the sea profound;
The lofty woods, the forests wide and long,
Adorn'd with leaves and branches fresh and green,
Do welcome with their quire the summer's Queen;
Are intermixt, with verdant grass between;
That made the heavens, the angler oft doth see;
To think how strange, how wonderful they be;
To set his heart from other fancies free;
His mind is rapt above the starry sky. Sir, I am glad my memory has not lost these last verses, because they are somewhat more pleasant and more suitable to May-day than my harsh discourse. And I am glad your patience hath held out so long, as to hear them and me: for both together have brought us within the sight of the Thatch'd-house. And I must be your debtor, if you think it worth your attention, for the rest of my promised discourse, till some other opportunity, and a like time of leisure.
Ven. Sir, you have angled me on with much pleasure to the Thatch'd-house; and I now find your words true, “that good company makes the way seem short," for trust me, Sir, I thought we had wanted three miles of this house, till you shewed it to me. But now we are at it, we'll turn into it, and refresh ourselves with a cup of drink, and a little rest.
Pisc. Most gladly, Sir, and we'll drink a civil cup to all the Otter-hunters that are to meet you to-morrow.
Ven. That we will, Sir, and to all the lovers of Angling too, of which number I am now willing to be one myself; for, by the help of your good discourse and company, I have put on new thoughts, both of the art of Angling and of all that profess it: and if you will but meet me to-morrow at the time and place appointed, and bestow one day with me and my friends, in hunting the Otter, I will dedicate the next two days to wait upon you; and we two will, for that time, do nothing but angle, and talk of fish and fishing. Pisc. It is a match, Sir, I will not fail you,
God willing, to be at Amwell-hill to-morrow morning before sunrising.