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But I think all that love this game may here learn something that may be worth their money, if they be not poor and needy men: and in case they be, I then wish them to forbear to buy it; for I write not to get money, but for pleasure, and this discourse boasts of no more; for I hate to promise much, and deceive the reader.
And however it proves to him, yet I am sure I have found a high content in the search and conference of what is here offered to the reader's view and censure : I wish him as much in the perusal of it, and so I might here take my leave; but will stay a little and tell him, that whereas it is said by many, that in fly-fishing for a trout, the angler must observe his twelve several flies for the twelve months of the year, - I say, he that follows that rule shall be as sure to catch fish, and be as wise as he that makes hay by the fair days in an almanack, and no surer ; for those very flies that used to appear about and on the water in one month of the year, may, the following year, come almost a month sooner or later, as the same year proves colder or hotter : and yet, in the following Discourse, I have set down the twelve flies that are in reputation with many anglers; and they may serve to give him some observations concerning them. And he may note, that there are in Wales, and other countries, peculiar flies, proper to the particular place or country; and, doubtless, unless a man makes a fly to counterfeit that very fly in that place, he is like to lose his labour, or much of it; but for the generality, three or four flies, neat and rightly made, and not too big, serve for a trout in most rivers all the summer; and for winter fly-fishing, is as useful as an almanack out of date. And of these, because as no man is born an artist, so no man is born an angler, I thought fit to give thee this notice.
When I have told the reader, that in this fifth* impression there are many enlargements, gathered both by my own observation, and the communication with friends, I shall stay him no longer than to wish him a rainy evening to read this following discourse; and that, if he be an honest angler, the east wind may never blow when he goes a-fishing.
• The Afth, as it is the last of the editions published in the author's lifetime, has been carefully followed in the present publication. - See the Author's Life.
TO MY DEAR BROTHER, IZAAK WALTON,
UPON HIS COMPLETE ANGLER.
Erasmus, in his learned Colloquies,
Has mix'd some toys, tnat, by varieties,
He might entice all readers : for in him
Each child may wade, or tallest giant swim.
And such is this discourse : there's none so low,
Or highly learn'd, to whom hence may not flow
Pleasure and information; both which are
Taught us with so much art, that I might swear
Safely, the choicest critic cannot tell
Whether your matchless judgment most excel
In angling or its praise ; where commendation
First charms, then makes an art a recreation.
'Twas so to me; who saw the cheerful spring
Pictured in every mcadow; heard birds sing
Sonnets in every grove; saw fishes play
In the cool crystal streams, like lambs in May:
And they may play, till anglers read this book ;
But after, 'tis a wise fish 'scapes a hook.
Jo. Floud, Master of Arts.
TO THE READER OF THE COMPLETE ANGLER.
First, mark the title well: my friend that
Has made it good; this book deserves to have it;
For he that views it with judicious looks,
Shall find it full of art, baits, lines, and hooks.
The world the river is; both you and I,
And all mankind, are either fish or fry.
If we pretend to reason, first or last,
His baits will tempt us, and his hooks hold fast.
Pleasure or profit, either prose or rhyme,
If not at first, will doubtless take in time.
Here sits, in secret, bless'd Theology,
Waited upon by grave Philosophy
Both natural and moral; History,
Deck'd and adorn' with flowers of Poetry,
The matter and expression striving which
Shall most excel in worth, yet not seem rich.
There is no danger in his baits; that hook
Will prove the safest that is surest took,
For are we caught alone, but, which is best,
We shall be wholesome, and be toothsome dress'd;
Dress'd to be fed, not to be fed upon :
And danger of a surfeit here is none.
The solid food of serious contemplation
Is sauced here, with such harmless recreation,
That an ingenuous and religious mind
Cannot inquire for more than it may find
Ready at once prepared, either t excite
Or satisfy a curious appetite.
More praise is due: for 'tis both positive
And truth, which once was interrogative,
And utter'd by the poet, then, in jest,
Et piscatorem piscis amare potest.
Ch. Harvia,* Master of Arts.
10 MY DEAR FRIEND, MR IZAAK WALTON,
IN PRAISE OF ANGLING, WHICH WE BOTH LOVE.
Down by this smooth stream's wandering side,
Adorn'd and perfumed with the pride
Of Flora's wardrobe, where the shrill
Aërial choir express their skill,
First, in alternate melody,
And then in chorus all agree.
. Whilst the charm'd fish, as ecstasied
With sounds, to his own throat denied, 2
Scorns his dull element, and springs
I'th' air, as if his fins were wings.
'Tis here that pleasures sweet and high
Prostrate to our embraces lie :
Such as to body, soul, or fame,
Create no sickness, sin, or shame:
Roses, not fenced with pricks, grow here;
No sting to th’ honey bag is near :
But, what's perhaps their prejudice,
They difficulty want and price.
An obvious rod, a twist of hair,
With hook hid in an insect, are
Engines of sport would fit the wish
O'th' epicure, and fill his dish.
In this clear stream let fall a grub,
And straight take up a dace or chub.
l'th' mud, your worm provokes a snig,
Which being fast, if it
The Gotham folly will be found
Discreet, ere ta'en she must be drown'd.
The tench, physician of the brook,
yon dead hole expects your hook : * Supposed to be Christopher Harvie, for whom sce Athen. Oxon. rol. i et vide infra, chap. v.
Which, having first your pastime been,
Serves then for meat or medicine.
Ambush'd behind that root doth stay
A pike; to catch, and be a prey.
The treacherous quill in this slow stream
Betrays the hunger of a bream.
And at that nimble ford, no doubt,
Your false fly cheats a speckled frout.
When you these creatures wisely choose
To practise on, which to your use
Owe their creation, and when
Fish from your arts do rescue men,
To plot, delude, and circumvent,
Ensnare, and spoil, is innocent.
Here by these crystal streams you may
Preserve a conscience clear as they ;
And when by sullen thoughts you find
Your harassed, not busied, mind
In sable melancholy clad,
Distemper'd, serious, turning sad;
Hence fetch your cure, cast in your bait,
All anxious thoughts and cares will straight
Fly with such speed, they 'll seem to be
Possess'd with the hydrophobie :
The water's calmness in your breast,
And smoothness on your brow, shall rest.
Away with sports of charge and noise,
And give me cheap and silent joys;
Such as Actæon's gam: pursue,
Their fate oft makes the tale seem true.
The sick or sullen hawk, to-day,
Flies not; to-morrow, quite away:
Patience and purse to cards and dice
Too oft are made a sacrifice:
The daughter's dower, th' inheritance
O'th' son, depend on one mad chance.
The harms and mischiefs which th' abuse
Of wine doth every day produce,
Make good the doctrine of the Turks,
That in each grape a devil lurks.
And by yon fading sapless tree,
'Bout which the ivy twined you see,
His fate 's foretold, who fondly places
His bliss in woman's soft embraces :
All pleasures, but the angler's, bring
l' the tail repentance, like a sting.
Then on these banks let me sit down,
Free from the toilsome sword and gown ;
And pity those that do affect
To conquer nations and protect.
My reed affords such true content,
Delights so sweet and innocent,
As seldom fall unto the lot
Of sceptres, though they 're justly got.
Tho. Weaver, Master of Arts.
TO THE READERS
OP MY MOST INGENUOUS FRIEND'S BOOK, “THE COMPLETE ANGLER."
He that both knew and writ the Lives of
Such as were once, but must not be again;
Witness his matchless Donne and Wotton, by
Whose aid he could their speculations try :
He that conversed with angels, such as were
Ouldsworth * and Featly, t each a shining star
Shewing the way to Bethlem ; each a saint,
Compared to whom our zealots, now, but paint:
He that our pious and learn’d Morley | knew,
And from him suck'd wit and devotion too :
He that from these such excellencies fetch'd,
That He could tell how high and far they reach'd;
What learning this, what graces th' other had ;
And in what several dress each soul was clad :
Reader, this He, this fisherman, comes forth,
And in these fisher's weeds would shroud his worth.
Now his mute harp is on a willow hung,
With which, when finely touch'd and fitly strung,
He could friends' passions for these times allay,
Or chain his fellow anglers from their prey.
But now the niusic of his pen is still,
And he sits by a brook watching a quill,
Where with a fix'd eye and a ready hand,
He studies first to hook, and then to land
Some Trout, or Perch, or Pike; and having done,
Sits on a bank, and tells how this was won,
And that escaped his hook, which with a wile
Did eat the bait, and fisherman beguile.
Thus whilst some vex'd they from their lands are thrown,
He joys to think the waters are his own ;
And like the Dutch, he gladly can agree
To live at peace now, and have fishing free.
April 3, 1650. Edv. Powell, Master of Arts. TO MY DEAR BROTHER, MR IZAAK WALTON,
ON HIS COMPLETE ANGLER.
This book is so like you, and you like it,
For harmless mirth, expression, art, and wit,
That I protest, ingenuously 'tis true,
I love this mirth, art, wit, the book, and you.
Rob. FLOUD, C.
CLARISSIMO AMICISSIMOQUE FRATRI, DOMINO ISAACO WALTON,
ARTIS PISCATORIA PERITISSIMO.
Unicus est medicus reliquorum piscis, et istis,
Fas quibus est medicum tangere, certa salus.
* Dr Richard Holdsworth. See an account of him in the Fasti Oxon. 207 ;
and in Ward's Lires of the Gresham Professors.
+ Dr Daniel Featly, for whom see Athen. Oron. 603. * Dr George Morley, bishop of Winchester,