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that it is a deyntous fysshe, but there ben but fewe in Englonde. And therefore I wryte the lasse of hym. He is an euyll fysshe to take. For he is soo stronge enarmyd in the mouthe, that there maye noo weke harnays hold hym.
And as touchynge his baytes, I have but lytyll knowledge of it. And me wereloth to wryto more than I knowe and have prouyd. But well I wote, that the redde worme and the menow ben good baytes for hym at all tymes, as I have herde saye of persones credyble, and also founde wryten in bokes of credence. I
For taking the Pike, this lady directs her readers in the following terms, viz.
Take a codlynge hoke; and take a Roche, or a fresshe Heeryng; and a woyre wyth an hole in the ende, and put it in at the mouth, and out at the taylle, downe by the ridge of the fresshe Heeryng ; and thenne put the lyne of your hoke in after, and drawe the hoke into the cheke of the fresshe Heeryng ; then put a plumbe of lede upon your lyne a yerde longe from your hoke, and a flote in myd waye betwene; and caste it in a pytte where the Pyke usyth: and this is the beste and moost surest crafte of tákynge the Pyke. Another manere takynge of hym there is ; take a frosshe, 2 and put it on your hoke, at the necke, betwene the skynne and the body, on the backe half, and put on a flote a yerde therefro, and caste it where the Pyke hauntyth, and ye shall haue hym. Another manere: Take the same bayte, and put it in asa fetida, and caste it in the water wyth a corde and a corke, and ye shall not fayl of hym. And yf ye lyst to haue a good sporte, thenne tye the corde lo a gose fote; and ye shall se gode halynge, whether the gose or the Pyke shall have the better.
The directions for making flies, contained in this book, áre, as one would expect, very inartificial : we shall therefore only add, that the authoress advises the angler to be provided with twelve different sorts ; between which and Walton's twelve, 3 the difference is so very small, as well in the order as the manner of describing them, that there cannot remain the least doubt but he had seen, and attentively perused this ancient treatise.
The book concludes with some general cautions, among which are these that follow; which at least serve to shew, how long Angling has been looked on as an auxiliary to contemplation.
Also ye shall not use this forsayd crafty dysporte, for no couetysenes, to the encreasynge and sparynge of your money oonly; but pryncypally for your solace, and to cause the helthe of your body, and specyally of your soule: for whanne ye purpoos to goo on your dysportes in fysshynge, ye woll not desyre gretly many persons wyth you, whyche myghte lette you of your game. And thenne ye may serue God, deuowtly, in sayenge affectuously youre custumable prayer;' and, thus doynge, ye shall eschewe and voyde many vices.
rational refinement we make to the savage practice that gives occasion to this note, is the eating of salted or pickled herrings or anchovies ; but for this it may be said in excuse, that there may possibly be in salt some principle similar, in its operation on certain bodies, to fire; at least, we find that the porposes of culinary fire are sufficiently answered in the process of caring herrings.
(1) Cousidering the time when this book was written, we may conclude, that these could be hardly any other than Monkish manuscripts.
(2) Or Frog. Minsheu's Dictionary. (3) Vide, infra, Chap. V.
But to return to the last-mentioned work of our author, The Complete Angler: it came into the world attended with Encomiastic Verses by several writers of that day ;? and had in the title-page, though Walton thought proper to omit it in the future editions, this apposite motto: “ Simon Peter said, I go a fishing; and they said, we also will go
with thee.” John 21. 3. And here occasion is given us to remark, that the circumstance of time, and the distracted state of the kingdom at the period when the book was written, reaching indeed to the publication of the third edition thereof, are evidences of the author's inward temper and disposition; for who-but a man whose mind was the habitation of piety, prudence, humility, peace and cheerfulness-could delineate such a character as that of the principal interlocutor in this dialogue; and make him reason, contemplate, instruct, converse, jest, sing, and recite verses, with that sober pleasantry, that unlicentious hilarity, that Piscator does ? and this, too, at a time when the whole kingdom was in arms; and confusion and desolation were carried to an extreme sufficient to have excited such a resentment against the authors of them, as might have soured the best temper, and rendered it, in no small degree, unfit for social intercourse. 3
If it should be objected, that what is here said may be equally true of an indolent man, or of a mind insensible to all outward accidents, and devoted to its own ease and gratification to this it may be answered, that the person here spoken of was not such a man : on the contrary, in sundry views of his character, he appears to have been endowed both with activity and industry; an industrious tradesman; industrious in collecting biographical memoirs and historical facts, and in rescuing from oblivion the memory and writings of many of his learned friends : and, surely, against the suspicion of insensibility He must stand acquitted, who appears to have had the strongest attachments, that could consist with christian charity, both to opinions and men; to episcopacy, to the doctrines, discipline, and the liturgy of the established church; and to those divines and others that favoured the civil and ecclesiastical constitution of this country,—the subversion whereof, it was his misfortune both to see and feel. Seeing, therefore, that amidst the public calamities, and in a state of exile from that city where the earliest and dearest of his connections had been formed, he was thus capable of enjoying himself in the manner he appears to have done; patiently submitting to those evils which he could not prevent we must pronounce him to have been
(1) A note of the pious simplicity of former times, which united prayer with recreation.
(2) This is a mistake; it was upon the publication of the second edition, that the commendatory verses appeared.
(3) This kind of resentment we cannot better estimate, than by a comparison thereof with its opposite affection, whatever we may call it ; which in one instance, to wit, the restoration of King Charles II. had such an effect upon Mr. Oughtred, the mathematician, ihat, for joy on receiving the news that the parliament had voted the king's return, he expired.
an illustrious exemplar of the private and social virtues, and upon the whole a wise and good man.
To these remarks, respecting the moral qualities of Walton, I add, that his mental endowments were so considerable as to merit notice; it is true, that his stock of learning, properly so called, was not great; yet were his attainments in literature far beyond what could be expected from a man bred to trade, and not to a learned profession; for let it be remembered, that-besides being well versed in the study of the holy scriptures, and the writings of the most eminent divines of his time—he appears to have been well acquainted with history, ecclesiastical, civil, and natural; to have acquired a very correct judgment in poetry; and by phrases of his own combination and invention, to have formed a style so natural, intelligible, and elegant, as to have had more admirers than successful imitators.
And although in the prosecution of his design to teach the contemplative man the art of angling, there is a plainness and simplicity of discourse, that indicates little more than bare instruction,-yet is there intermingled with it wit and gentle reprehension; and we may in some instances discover, that though he professes himself no friend to scoffing, he knew very well how to deal with scoffers, and to defend his art, as we see he does, against such as attempted to degrade it; and particularly against those two persons in the dialogue, Auceps and Venator, who affected to fear a long and watery discourse in defence of his art—the former of whom he puts to silence, and the other he converts and takes for his pupil.
What reception in general the book met with, may be naturally inferred from the dates of the subsequent editions thereof; the second came abroad in 1655, the third in 1664, the fourth in 1668, and the fifth and last in 1676. It is pleasing to trace the several variations which the author from time to time made in these subsequent editions, as well by adding new facts and discoveries, as by enlarging on the more entertaining parts of the dialogue : And so far did he indulge himself in this method of improvement, that, besides that in the second edition he has introduced a new interlocutor, to wit, Auceps, a falconer, and by that addition gives a new form to the dialogue; he from thence'takes occasion to urge a variety of reasons in favour of his art, and to assert its preference as well to hawking as hunting. The third and fourth editions of his book have several entire new chapters; and the fifth, the last of the editions published in his lifetime, contains no less than eight chapters more than the first, and twenty pages more than the fourth.
Not having the advantage of a learned education, it may seem unaccountable that Walton so frequently cites authors that have written only in Latin, as Gesner, Cardan, Aldrovandus, Rondeletius, and even Albertus Magnus; but here it may be observed, that the voluminous history of animals, of which the first of these was author, is in effect translated into English by Mr. Edward Topsel, a learned divine; chaplain, as it seems—in the church of St. Botolph, Aldersgate - to Dr. Neile, dean of Westminster. The translation was published in 1658, and—containing in it numberless particulars concerning frogs, serpents, caterpillars, and other animals, though not of fish, extracted from the other writers above-named, and others with their names to
the respective facts—it furnished Walton with a great variety of intelligence, of which in the later editions of his book he has carefully availed himself: it was therefore through the medium of this translation alone, that he was enabled to cite the other authors mentioned above; vouching the authority of the original writers, in like manner as he elsewhere does Sir Francis Bacon, whenever occasion occurs to mention his Natural History, or any other of his works. Pliny was translated to his hand by Dr. Philemon Holland, as were also Janus Dubravius De Piscinis & Piscium Natura, and Lebault's Maison Rustique, so often referred to by him in the course of his work.
Nor did the reputation of the Complete Angler subsist only in the opinions of those for whose use it was more peculiarly calculated ; but even the learned, either from the known character of the author, or those internal evidences of judgment and veracity contained in it, considered it as a work of merit, and for various purposes referred to its authority : Doctor Thomas Fuller in his Worthies, whenever he has occasion to speak of fish, uses his very words. Doctor Plot, in his History of Staffordshire, has, on the authority of our author, related two of the instances of the voracity of the Pike, mentioned Part I. Chap. 8.; and confirmed them by two other signal ones, that had then lately fallen out in that county.
These are testimonies in favour of Walton's authority in matters respecting fish and fishing. And it will hardly be thought a diminution of that of Fuller, to say, that he was acquainted with, and a friend of, the person whom he thus implicitly commends : a fact which the following relation of a conference between them sufficiently proves.
Fuller, as we all know, wrote a Church History, which, soon after its publication—Walton-having read-applied to the author for some information touching Hooker, whose Life he was then about to write. Upon this occasion Fuller, knowing how intimate Walton was with several of the bishops and ancient clergy, asked his opinion of it, and what reception it met with among his friends ? Walton answered, that “ he thought it would be acceptable to all tempers, because there were shades in it for the warm, and sunshine for those of a cold constitution : that with youthful readers, the facetious parts would be proper to make the serious more palatable, while some reverend old readers might fancy themselves in his History of the Church as in a flower-garden, or one full of evergreens.”—And why not,' said Fuller,' the Church History so decked, as well as the Church itself at a most holy season, or the Tabernacle of old at the feast of boughs. “ That was but for a season,” said Walton : “ in your feast of boughs, they may conceive, we are so overshadowed throughout, that the parson is more seen than his congregation --and this, sometimes, invisible to its own acquaintance, who may wander in the search till they are lost in the labyrinth.” — Oh,' said Fuller,
the very children of our Israel may find their way out of this wilderness.'-" True,” replied Walton, “ as, indeed, they have here such a Moses to conduct them.” 1
(1) From a manuscript Collection of diverting sayings, stories, characters, &c. in verse and prose, made about the year 1686, by Charles Cotion, Esq.
To pursue the subject of the Biographical Writings about two years after the Restoration, Walton wrote the Life of Mr. Richard Hooker, author of the Ecclesiastical Polity. He was enjoined to undertake this work by his friend Doctor Gilbert Sheldon, afterwards archbishop of Canterbury; who, by the way, was an angler. Bishop King, in a letter to the author, 2 says of this Life: “ I have often seen Mr. Hooker with my father, who was after bishop of London ; from whom, and others at that time, I have heard most of the material passages which you relate in the history of his life.” Sir William Dugdale, speaking of the three posthumous books of the Ecclesiastical Polity, refers the reader" to that seasonable historical discourse, lately compiled and published, with great judgment and integrity, by that much deserving person, Mr. Isaac Walton.”3 In this Life we are told, that Hooker, while he was at college, made a visit to the famous Doctor Jewel, then bishop of Salisbury, his good friend and patron: An account of the bishop's reception of him, and behaviour at his departure—as it contains a lively picture of his simplicity and goodness, and of the plain manners of those times—is given in the note. 4
The Life of Mr. George Herbert, as it stands the fourth and last in the volume wherein that and the three former are collected, seems to have been written the next after Hooker's : it was first published in duodecimo, 1670. Walton professes himself to have been a stranger as to the person of Herbert;5 and though he assures us his
some time in the library of the Earl of Halifax. Vide Biographia Britan. nica, 2061, note P. in margine.
The editors of the above work have styled this colloquy a witty confabulation, but it seems remarkable for nothing but its singularity, which consists in the starting of a metaphior and hunting it down.
(1) Walton's Epist. to the reader of the Lives, in 8vo. 1670.
(4) “ As soon as he was perfectly recovered from this sickness, he took a journey from Oxford to Exeter, to satisfy and see his good mother ; being accompanied with a countryman and companion of his own college, and both on toot; which was, then, either more in fashion-or want of money, or their humility made it so: but on foot they went, and took Salisbury in their way, purposely to see the good bishop, who made Mr. Hooker and his companion dine with him at his own table; whichi Mr. Hooker boasted of with much joy and gratitude, when he saw his mother and friends. And at the bishop's parting with him, the bishop gave him good counsel, and his benediction, but forgot to give him money, which, when the bishop had considered, he sent a servant in all haste to call Richard back to him : and at Richard's return, the bishop said to him : Richard! I sent for you back to lend you a horse, which hath carried me many a mile, and, I thank God, with much ease; and presently delivered into his hands a walking staff, with which he professed he had travelled through many parts of Germany; and he said, Richard ? I do not give, but lend you my horse ; be sure you be honest, and bring my horse back to me at your return this way to Oxford. And I do now give you ten groats to bear your charges to Exeter ; and here is ten groats more, which I charge you to deliver to your mother; and tell her, I send her a bishop's benediction with it, and beg the continuance of her prayers for me. And if you bring my horse back to me, I will give you ten groats more to carry you on foot to the college: and so God bless you, good Richard?'. Life of Hooker, in the Collection of Lives, edit. 1670.
(5) Introd. to Herbert's Life,