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work of Lombart, who is mentioned in the Sculptura of Mr. Evelyn; and also that the plates were of steel.
And let no man imagine, that a work on such a subject must necessarily be unentertaining, or trifling, or even uninstructive; for the contrary will most evidently appear, from a perusal of this excellent piece, which whether we consider the elegant simplicity of the style, the ease and unaffected humour of the dialogue, the lovely scenes which it delineates, the enchanting pastoral poetry which it contains, or the fine morality it so sweetly inculcates--has hardly its fellow in any of the modern languages.
The truth is, that there are few subjects so barren as not to afford matter of delight, and even of instruction, if ingeniously treated : Montaigne has written an essay on Coaches, and another on Thumbs ; and our own nation has produced many men, who, from felicity in their turn of thinking, and manner of writing, have adorned. and even dignified, themes the most dry and unpromising. Many would think that time ill employed, which was spent in composing a treatise on the art of shooting in the long bow; and how few lovers of horticulture would expect entertainment from a discourse of Sallads! and yet the Toxophilus of Roger Ascham, and the Acetaria of Mr. Evelyn, have been admired and commended by the best judges of literature.
But that the reader may determine for himself, how much our author has contributed to the improvement of piscatory science, and how far his work may be said to be an original, it will be necessary for him to take a view of the state of angling at the time when he wrote; and that he may be the better able to do this, he will consider, that, till the time of the Reformation, although the clergy, as well regular as secular-on account of their leisure, and because the canon law forbad them the use of the sanguinary recreations of hunting, hawking, and fowling—were the great proficients in angling, yet none of its precepts were committed to writing; and that, from the time of the introduction of printing into this kingdom, to that of the first publication of Walton's book, in 1653, an interval of more than one hundred and fifty years, only five books on this subject had been given to the world : of the four latest, some mention is made in the margin ;1 but the first of that number, as well on account of its
(1)“ A Booke of fishing with hooke and line, and of all other instruments thereunto belonging. Another of sundrie engines and traps to take polecats, buzzards, rats, mice, and all other kinds of vermine and beasts whatsoever, most profitable for all warriners, and such as delight in this kind of sport and pastime, made by L. M. 4to. London, 1590, 1596, 1600.
It appears by a variety of evidence, that the person meant by these initials was one Leonard Mascall, an author who wrote on planting and grafting, and also on cattle. Vide infra, Chap. IX.
Approved Experiments touching Fish and Fruit, to be regarded by the Lovers of Angling, by Mr. John Taverner, in Quarto, 1600..
The Secrets of Angling, a poem, in three books, by J. D. Esq. Octavo, 1613. Mention is made of this book, in a note on a passage in the ensuing dialogues ; and there is reason to think, that it is the foundation of a treatise, intitled, The whole Art of Angling, published in Quarto, 1656, by the well-known Gervase Markham, as part of his Country Contentments, or Husbandman's Recreations, since he confesses, that the substance of
quaintness as antiquity, and because it is not a little characteristic of the age when it was written, deserves to be particularly distinguished. This tract, intitled, The Treatyse of Fysshynge wyth an Angle, makes part of a book, like many others of that early time, without a title ; but which, by the colophon, appears to have been printed at Westminster, by Wynkyn de Worde, 1496, in a small folio, containing a treatise on hawking; another, on hunting, in verse,—the latter taken, as it seems, from a Tract, on that subject, written by old Sir Tristram, an ancient forester, cited in the Forest Laws of Manwood, chap. iv. in sundry places; a book wherein is determined the Lygnage of Cote Armures; the above-mentioned treatise of fishing; and the method of Blasynge of Armes.
The book printed by Wynkyn de Worde is, in truth, a re-publication of one known, to the curious, by the name of the “ Book of St. Alban’s,” it appearing by the colophon to have been printed there, in 1486, and, as it seems, with Caxton's letter.1 Wynkyn de Worde's impression has the addition of the treatise of fishing; of which only it concerns us to speak.
The several tracts contained in the above-mentioned two impressions of the same book, were compiled by Dame Julyans (or Juliana) Berners, Bernes, or Barnes; prioress of the nunnery of Sopwell, near St. Alban's; a lady of a noble family—and celebrated, for her learning and accomplishments, by Leland, Bale, Pits, bishop Tanner, and others. And the reason for her publishing it, in the manner it appears in, she gives us in the following words : And for by cause that this present treatyse sholde not come to the hondys of oche ydle persone whyche wolde desire it, yf it were enprynted allone by itself and put in a lytyll plaunflet; therefore I have compylyd it in a greter uolume, of dyuerse bokys concernynge to gentyll and noble men, to the entent that the forsayd ydle persones whyche sholde haue but lytyll mesure in the sayd dysporte of fysshynge, sholde not by this meane utterly dystroye it.
And as to the treatise itself, it must be deemed a great typographical curiosity, as well for the wooden sculpture which in the original immediately follows the title, as for the orthography and the character in which it is printed. And, with respect to the subject matter thereof, it begins — With a comparison of fishing with the diversions of hunting, hawking, and fowling,—which, the authoress shews, are attended with great inconveniences and disappointments; whereas in fishing, if his sport fail him, the Angler, says she, atte the leest, hath his holsom walke, and mery at his ease, a swete ayre of the swete sauoure of the meede floures, that makyth him hungry; he hereth the melodyous armony of fowles ; he seeth the yonge swannes, heerons,
his book was originally in rhymne. Of Markham's book, a specimen is given in a note on page 20.
Barker's Art of Angling, printed in 12mo. in 1651, and again in 4to. in 1653. A third edition was published in 1659, under the title of Barker's Delight, or the art of Angling. For an Account of this book and its Author, vide infra. J. S. H.
(1) Vide Biographia Britannica, Art. CAXTON, note L. wherein the anthor, Mr. Oldys, has given a copious account of the book, and a cha. racter of the lady who compiled it.
duckes, cotes, and many other fowles, wyth theyr brodes; whyche me semyth better than alle the noyse of houndys, the blastes of hornys, and the scrye of foulis, that hunters fawkeners, and foulers can make. And if the Angler take fysshe ; surely, thenne, is there noo man merier than he is in his spyryte.
At the beginning of the directions, How the angler is to make his harnays, or tackle, he is thus instructed to provide a Rod: And how ye shall make your rodde craftly, here I shall teche you. Ye shall kytte betweene Myghelmas and Candylmas, a fayr staffe, of a fadom and an halfe longe and arme-grete, of hasyll, wyllowe, or aspe; and bethe hym in an hote ouyn, and sette hym euyn; thenne, lete hym cole and drye a moneth, Take thenne and frettei hym, faste, wyth a coekeshote corde ; and bynde hym to a fourme, or an euyn square grete tree. Take, thenne, a plummer's wire, that is euen and streyte, and sharpe at the one ende ; and hete the sharpe ende in a charcole fyre till it be whyte, and brenne the staffe therwyth thorugh, euer streyte in the pythe at bothe endes, tyll they mete: and after that brenne hym in the nether end wyth a byrde brocher and wyth other broches, eche gretter than other, and euer the grettest the laste; so that ye make your hole, aye, tapre were. Thenne lete hym lye styll, and kele two dayes; unfrette 3 hym thenne, and lete hym drye in an hous roof, in the smoke tyll he be thrugh drye. In the same season, take a fayr yerde of grene hasyll, and bethe him euen and streyghte, and lete it drye with the staffe; and whan they ben drye, make the yerde mete unte the hole in the staffe, unto halfe the length of the staffe; und to per fourme that other half of the croppe,--take a fayr shote of blacke thornn, crabbe tree, medeler, or of jenypre, kytte in the same season, and well bethyd and streyghte, and frette theym togyder fetely, 800 that the croppe' maye justly entre all into the sayd hole; thenne shaue your staffe, and make hym tapre were ; then vyrell the staffe at bothe endes with long hopis of yren, or laton, in the clennest wise, wyth a Pyke at the nether ende, fastnyd with a rennynge vyce, to take in and out your croppe; thenne set your croppe an handfull within the ouer ende of your staffe, in suche wise that it be as bigge there as in ony other place about : thenne arme your croppe at thouer ende, downe to the frette, wyth a lyne of vj heeres, and dubbe the lyne, and frette it faste in the toppe wyth a bowe to fasten on your lyne ; and thus shall ye make you a rodde svo prevy, that ye may xalke therwylh ; and there shall noo man wyle where abowte ye goo.
Speaking of the Barbel, she says: The Barbyll is a swete fysshe; but it is a quasy meete, and a peryllous for munnys body. For, comynly, he yeuyth an introduxion to the febres : and yf he be eten rawe, 4 he may be cause of mannys dethe, whyche hath oft be seen. And of the Carp,
(1) i. e. tye it about : the substantive plural, frets of a lute, is formed of this verb.
(2) A bird spit. (3) Untie it.
(4) The usage of the fourteenth century, at which this cantion is levelled. cannot at this day but fill us with astonishment. What is it to manducate and take into our stomachs the flesh of any animal without any kind of culinary preparation, but to feed like cannibals! The reflection on this practice operated so strongly on the mind of the Hon. Robert Boyle, that he speaks in terms of abhorrence of the eating of raw oysters, in a book entitled, Reflections, &c, which hereafter will be mentioned.
The nearest approach, excepting the instance above, which in this age of