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Dove,--and on the ninetieth anniversary of his birth-day, he, by his Will, declares himself to be of perfect memory. 1
As to his worldly circumstances—notwithstanding the adverse accident of his being obliged, by the troubles of the times, to quit London and his occupation—they appear to have been commensurate, as well to the wishes as the wants of any but a covetous and intemperate man; and, in his relations and connections, such a concurrence of circumstances is visible, as it would be almost presumption to pray for.
For-not to mention the patronage of those many prelates and dignitaries of the church, men of piety and learning, with whom he lived in a close intimacy and friendship; or, the many ingenious and worthy persons with whom he corresponded and conversed; or, the
Whilst from the most tempestuous nooks
The chillest blasts our peace invade,
Are almost navigable made ;
Of this dead quarter of the year,
We would not now wish with us here:
Some comfort to us to suppose,
You, our dear friend, have more repose ;
Though nature now does weep in rain,
And haply may I do again.
We live to see another May,
Foul days in one fine fishing day.
Perhaps a week wherein to try
With the most deadly killing flie :
A warm, but not a scorching sun,
And, master, half our work is done.
The scaly people to betray, -
To make the preying Trout our prey.
Happier than those, though not so high,
Of meaner men the smaller fry.
Shall be our pastime and our theme;
You make all this a fiattring dream. (1) These, it must be owned, are words of course in a Will : but had the fact been otherwise, he would have been unable to make such a judicious disposition of his worldly estate as he had done, or with his own hand to write so long an instrument as his Will.
esteem and respect, testified by printed letters and eulogiums, which his writings had procured him—to be matched with a woman of an exalted understanding, and a mild and humble temper; to have children of good inclinations and sweet and amiable dispositions, and to see them well settled; is not the lot of every man that, preferring a social to a solitary life, chooses to become the head a family.
But blessings like these are comparatively light, when weighed against those of a mind stored, like his, with a great variety of useful knowledge,—and a temper that could harbour no malevolent thought or insiduous design, nor stoop to the arts of fraud or flattery, but dispose him to love and virtuous friendship, to the enjoyments of innocent delights and recreations, to the contemplation of the works of Nature, and the ways of Providence, and to the still sublimer pleasures of rational piety.
If, possessing all these benefits and advantages, external and internal, (together with a mental constitution, so happily attempered as to have been to him a perpetual fountain of cheerfulness, ? ) we can entertain a doubt that Walton was one of the happiest of men, we estimate them at a rate too low; and shew ourselves ignorant of the nature of that felicity to which it is possible, even in this life, for virtuous and good men, with the blessing of God, to arrive.
(1) Vide infra, in bis Will.
(2) See his Preface, wherein he declares that though he can be serious at seasonable times, he is a lover of innocent, harnıless mirth, and that his book is a picture of his own disposition.
Being a Discourse of FISH and FISHING, Not unworthy the perusal of most Anglers. Simon Peter said, I go afifing:and they faid. We also wil go with thee. John 23.3. London,Printed by 7. Maxey for Rich MARRIOT, in S.Dunftans Church-Yard, Fleet street.1653.
COPY OF WALTON'S WILL.
August the ninth, one thousand six
hundred eighty-three. In the Name of God, Amen, I Izaak Walton the elder, of Winchester, being this present day, in the ninetyeth year of my age, and in perfect memory, for which praised be God; but considering how suddainly I may be deprived of both, do therefore make this my last Will and Testament as followeth : And first, I do declare my belief to be, that there is only one God, who hath made the whole world, and me, and all mankind; to whom I shall give an account of all my actions, which are not to be justified, but I hope pardoned, for the merits of my Saviour JESUS : And because the profession of Christianity does, at this time, seem to be subdivided into Papist and Protestante, I take it, at least, to be convenient, to declare my belief to be, in all points of faith, as the Church of England now professeth : and this I do the rather, because of a very long and very true friendship with some of the Roman Church. And for my worldly estate, (which I have neither got by falsehood or flattery, or the extreme cruelty of the law of this nation, 1) I do hereby give and bequeath it as followeth : First, I give my son-in law, Doctor HAWKINS, and to his WIFE ; to them I give all my title and right of or in a part of a house and shop in Paternoster-row, in London, which I hold by lease from the lord bishop of London for about fifty years to come. And I do also give to them all my right and title of or to a house in Chancery-lane, London, wherein Mrs. Greinwood now dwelleth, in which is now about sixteen years to come: I give these two leases to them, they saving my executor from all damage concerning the same. And I give to my son Izaak all my right and title to a lease of Norington farme, which I hold from the lord bishop of Winton : And I do also give him all my right and title to a farme or land near to Stafford, which I bought of Mr. Walter Noell; 1 say, I give it to him and his heirs for ever; but upon the condition following, namely; if my son shall not marry before he shall be of age of forty-and-one years, or, being married, shall dye before the said age, and leave no son to inherit the said farme or land,-or if his son or sons hall not live to attain the age of twenty and one years, to dispose otherways of it,—then I give the said farme or land to the towne or corporation of STAFFORD, in which I was horne, for the good and benefit of some of the said towne, as I shall direct, and as followeth ; (but first note, that it is at this present time rented for twenty-one pound ten shillings a-year, and is like to hold
(1) Allading, perhaps, to that fundamental maxim of our law, Summum jus est summa injuria.