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His book is, in fact, a continuation of Walton's, not only as it teaches at large that branch of the art of angling which Walton had but slightly treated on, but as it takes up Venator, Walton's piscatory disciple, just where his master had left him; and this connection between the two parts will be clearly seen, when it is remarked, that the traveller whom Cotton invites to his house and so hospitably entertains, and also instructs in the art of fly-fishing-I say this traveller-and Venator, the pupil of Walton, come out to be one and the same person.
Not further to anticipate what will be found in the Second Part, it shall here suffice to say, that there is great spirit in the dialogue; and that the same conversable, communicative temper appears in it, that so eminently distinguishes the piece it accompanies.
The Descriptions of Flies, with the Materials for, and different methods of making them—though they may admit of some improvement, and accordingly the reader will meet with several valuable ones in the notes on the chapter of artificial flies—are indisputably the most exact and copious of all that have ever yet been published.
At the end of the Second Part, though in this edition it has been thought proper to transpose them, are [were] some verses of Cotton's writing, which he calls The Retirement, or Stanzes Irreguliers:-of them, and also of the book, take this character from Langbaine : “ This book is not unworthy of the perusal of the gravest men that are lovers of this innocent recreation ; and those who are not anglers, but have a taste for poetry, may find Mr. Cotton's character better described by himself, in a copy of verses printed at the end of that book, called The Retirement, than any I might present the reader from Colonel Lovelace, Sir Aston Cockaine, Robert Herrick, Esq., or Mr. Alexander Brome; all which have writ Verses in our author's praise; but, in my poor judgment, far short of these Stanzes Irreguliers,” In short, these books contain a great number of excellent rules, and valuable discoveries; and it may, with truth, be said, that few have ever perused them, but have, unless it was their own fault, found themselves not only better anglers, but better men.
A book which had been published by Col. Robert Venables, some years before, 2 called the Experienced Angler, or Angling improved, which has its merit, was also now re-printed; and the booksellers prefixed to it a general title of the Universal Angler; under which they sometimes sold the three bound together: but the book being written in a manner very different from that of the Complete Angler, it was not thought proper to let it accompany the present edition; however, some use has been made of it in the notes. It has a preface signed I. W. undoubtedly of Walton's writing.
And here it may not be amiss to remark, that between the two parts of the Complete Angler there is an obvious difference; the Latter (Part), though it abounds in descriptions of a wild and romantic country, and exemplifies the intercourse of hospitable urbanity, is of a didactic form, and contains in it more of instruction in the art it professes to teach, than of moral reflection: whereas the
(1) Lives of the English Dramatic Poets, art. Cha. Cotton, Esq. (2) In 1662.
former, besides the pastoral simplicity that distinguishes it, is replete with sentiments that edify,—and precepts that recommend, in the most persuasive manner, the practice of religion, and the exercise of patience, humility, contentedness, and other moral virtues. In this view of it, the book might be said to be the only one of the kind, but that I find somewhat like an imitation of it extant in a tract entitled Angling improved to Spiritual Uses, part of an octavo volume written by that eminent person the Hon. Robert Boyle, an angler, as himself confesses, and published in 1665, with this title : « Occasional Reflections upon several subjects; whereto is premised a Discourse about such kind of thoughts.”
Great names are entitled to great respect. The character of Mr. Boyle, as a devout christian and deep philosopher, is deservedly in high estimation; and a comparison between his Reflections and those of Walton, might seem an invidious labour-but see the irresistible impulse of wit! the book here referred to, was written in the very younger years of the author; and Swift, who had but little learning himself, and was better skilled in party-politics than in mathematics or physics, respected no man for his proficiency in either, and accordingly has not spared to turn the whole of it into ridicule. í
Walton was now in his eighty-third year, an age, which, to use his own words, “ might have procured him a writ of ease, 2 and secured him from all further trouble in that kind;" when he undertook to write the Life of Doctor Robert Sanderson, bishop of Lincoln:3 which was published-together with Several of the bishop's pieces, and a Sermon of Hooker's—in octavo, 1677.4
And, since little has been said of the subjects of these several Lives, it may not be amiss just to mention what kind of men they were whom Walton, and indeed mankind in general, thought so well worthy to be signalized by him.
Doctor JOHN DONNE was born in London, about the year 1573. At the age of eleven he was sent to Oxford; thence he was
(1) See his Meditation on a Broomstick.
(2) A discharge from the office of a judge, or the state and degree of a serjeant.at law. Dugdale's Origines Juridiciales, 139.
That good man, and learned judge, Sir George Croke, had obtained it some time before the writing of Sanderson's Life. Life of Sir George Croke, in the Preface to his Reports, Vol. III.
(3) See the Letter from Bishop Barlow to Walton, at the end of Sanderson's Life.
(4) The following curious particular, relating to King Charles the First, is mentioned in this Life of Sanderson ; which,as none of our historians have taken na ice of it, is here given in Walton's own words : “ And let me here take occasion to tell the reader this truth, not commonly known, that in one of these conferences this conscientious king told Dr. Sanderson, or one of them that then waited with him, that the remembrance of two errors did much afflict him ; which were, his assent to the Earl of Strafford's death, and the abolishing episcopacy in Scotland : and that, if God ever restored him to be in a peaceable possession of his crown, he would demonstrate his repentance by a public confession, and a voluntary penance, (I think barefoot) from the Tower of London, or Whitehall, to St. Paul's church, and desire the people to intercede with God for his pardon. I am sure one of them told it me, lives still, and will witness it. of Sanderson.”
transplanted to Cambridge; where he applied himself very assiduously to the study of divinity. At seventeen he was admitted of Lincoln’s-Inn; but not having determined what profession to follow, and being besides not thoroughly settled in his notions of religion, he made himself master of the Romish controversy, and became deeply skilled in the civil and canon law. He was one of the many young gentlemen that attended the Earl of Essex on the Cales expedition; at his return from which, he became secretary to the Lord-chancellor Ellesmere. Being very young, he was betrayed into some irregularities, the reflection on which gave him frequent uneasiness, during the whole of his future life: but a violent passion which he entertained for a beautiful young woman, a niece of Lady Ellesmere, cured him of these, though it was for a time the ruin of his fortunes; for he privately married her, and by so imprudent a conduct brought on himself and his wife the most pungent affliction that two young persons could possibly experience; he being, upon the representation of Sir George Moor, the lady's father, dismissed from his attendance on the lord-chancellor, and in consequence thereof involved in extreme distress and poverty;' in which he continued til about 1614, when having been persuaded to enter into holy orders, he was chosen preacher to the Honourable Society of Lincoln’s-Inn, and soon after appointed a King's chaplain. His attachment to the above Society, and his love of a town residence among his friends, were so strong, that although, as Walton assures us, he had within the first year after his ordination, offers of no fewer than fourteen country benefices, he declined them all. In his station of chaplain he drew on him the eyes of the king, who, with some peculiar marks of favour, preferred him to the deanery of St. Paul's; and shortly after he was, on the presentation of his friend, the Earl of Dorset, inducted into the vicarage of St. Dunstan's in the west : but the misfortunes attending his marriage had not only broken his spirit, but so impaired his constitution, that he fell into a lingering consumption, of which he died in 1631. Besides a great number of Sermons, and a Discourse on Suicide,–he has left, of his writings, Letters to several persons of honour, in quarto, 1651; and a volume of Poems—first published, and as there is reason to suppose, by Walton himself, in 1635, but last, in 1719,among which are six most spirited Satires, several whereof Mr. Pope has modernized. Walton compares him to St. Austin, as having, like him, been converted to a life of piety and holiness; and adds, that for the greatness of his natural endowments, he had been said to resemble Picus of Mirandula, of whom story says, that he was rather born than made wise by study.
(1) In a letter of his to an intimate friend, is the following most affecting passage : “ There is not one person, but myself, well of my family: I have already lost half a child ; and with that mischance of hers, my wife has fallen into such a discomposure, as would affict her too extremely, but that the sickness of all her other children stupifies her; of one of which, in good faith, I have not much hope : and these meet with a fortune so ill provided, for physic, and such relief, that if God should ease us with burials, I know not how to perform even that. But I flatter myself with this hope, that I am dying too ; for I cannot waste faster than by such griefs.” Life of Donne, in the Collection of Lives, edit. 1670, page 29.
SIR HENRY WOTTON was born 1568. After he had finished his studies at Oxford, he resided in France, Germany, and Italy; and at his return attended the Earl of Essex. He was employed by king James the First in several foreign negociations, and went ambassador to Venice. Towards the end of his life, he was made (having first been admitted to deacon's orders) provost of Eton College, a dignity well suited to a mind like his, that had withdrawn itself from the world for the purpose of religious contemplation.
He was skilled in painting, sculpture, music, architecture, medals, chemistry, and languages. In the arts of negociation he had few equals ;1 and in the propensities and attainments of a well-bred gentleman, no superior. To which character, it may be added, --that he possessed a rich vein of poetry; which he occasionally exercised in compositions of the descriptive and elegiac kind, spec mens whereof occur in the course of this book. There is extant, of his writing, the volume of Remains heretofore mentioned; collected and published, as the Dedication tells us, by Walton hinnself; containing among other valuable tracts, his Elements of Architecture:2 but the author's long residence abroad had in some degree corrupted his style, which, though in many particulars original and elegant, is like Sir William Temple’s, overcharged with Gallicisms, and other foreign modes of expression.3 He was a lover of angling, and such a proficient in the art, that, as he once told Walton, he intended to write a discourse on it: but death prevented him. His reasons for the choice of this recreation
was, " after tedious study, a rest to his mind, a chearer of his spirits, a diverter of sadness, a calmer of unquiet thoughts, à moderator of passions, a procurer of contentedness; and begat habits of peace and patience.” 4
These sentiments of Sir Henry Wotton, which are given in his very words, bespeak a mind habituated to reflection, and at ease in the enjoyment of his faculties: but they fall short of that lovely portrait of human happiness, doubtless taken from the image in his own breast, which he has exhibited in the following beautiful stanzas, and which I here publish without those variations from the original that in some copies have greatly injured the sense, and abated the energy of them :
How happy is he born, or taught,
That serveth not another's will !
And simple truth his utmost skill;
were, that it
(1) To a person intended for a foreign embassy that came to him for instruction, he gave this shrewd advice : “ Ever,” said he," speak truth: for if you do, you shall never be believed, and 'twill put your adversaries (who will still hunt counter) to a loss in all their disquisitions and under. takings.” See also his advice to Milton, concerning travel, in bis Letter prefixed to Milton's Comus.
(2) This treatise of Sir Henry's is, undoubtedly, the best on the subject of any in the inodern languages: a few years after his death it was transJated into Latin, and printed at the end of Vitruvius, with an eulogium on the author.
(3) As where he says, “ At Augusta I took language that the princes and states of the union' had deferred that assembly." Reliqu. Wotton, edit. 1635.
4) Vide Walton's Epistle Dedicatory : &, infra, cap. I.
Whose passions not his masters are;
Whose soul is still prepar'd for death i
of public fame, or private breath;
Nor vice: who never understood
Nor, rules of state, but rules of good;
Whose conscience is his strong retreat ;
Nor, ruin make oppressors great ;
More of his grace than gifts to lend;
With a religious book or friend.
Of hope to rise, or fear to fall;
And having nothing, yet hath all. This worthy and accomplished gentleman died in the year 1639 ; and is celebrated by Mr. Cowley, in an elegiac poem, beginning with these lines :
What shall we say since silent now is He,
HOOKER, one of the greatest of English divines, is sufficiently known and celebrated; as a learned, able, and judicious writer, and defender of our church, in his Treatise of the Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity ;-—the occasion of writing which is at this day but little known; and, to say the truth, has never been related with the clearness and perspicuity necessary to render the controversy intelligible. In or about the year 1570 were published two small tracts--severally entitled, a first and second Admonition to the Parliament, containing, under the form of a remonstrance, a most virulent invective against the establishment and discipline of the church of England—which were answered by Dr. Whitgift, afterwards archbishop of Canterbury, and defended hy one Thomas Cartwright, the author of the second Admonition. But the order and progress, of the controversy will best appear by the following state of it:
Admonition, first and second.
fence of the] Answer. 3. The rest of the Second Reply. Whitgift being, it seems, weary of the dispute, remitted (committed) the future conduct of it to Hooker; who took it up with an examination of the two Admonitions, and continued it through the subsequent books of Cartwright, referring to the latter (a particular worthy to be