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life of him was a free-will-offering, it abounds with curious information, and is no way inferior to any of the former.
Two of these Lives; viz. those of Hooker and Herbert, we are told, were written under the roof of Walton's good friend and patron, Dr. George Morley, bishop of Winchester;2 which particular seems to agree with Wood's account, that, “ after his quitting London, he lived mostly in the families of the eminent clergy of that time.”3 And who that considers the inoffensiveness of his manners, and the pains he took in celebrating the lives and actions of good men, can doubt his being much beloved by them?
In the year 1670, these Lives were collected and published in octavo; with a Dedication to the above bishop of Winchester; and a Preface, containing the motives for writing them :-this preface is followed by a Copy of Verses, by his intimate friend and adopted son, Charles Cotton, of Beresford in Staffordshire, Esq. the author of the Second Part of the Complete Angler, of whom further mention will hereafter be made; and by the Letter from bishop King, so often referred to in the course of this Life.
The Complete Angler having, in the space of twenty-three years, gone through four editions,— Walton, in the year 1676, and in the eighty-third of his age, was preparing a fifth, with additions, for the press; when Mr. Cotton wrote a second part of that work : It seems Mr. Cotton submitted the manuscript to Walton's perusal, who returned it with his approbation,4 and a few marginal strictures: And in that year they came abroad together. Mr. Cotton's book had the title of the Complete Angler ; being Instructions how to angle for a
Trout or Grayling, in a clear stream; Part II, and it has ever since been received as a Second part of Walton's book. In the title-page, is a cipher composed of the initial letters of both their names ; which cipher, Mr. Cotton tells us, he had caused to be cut in stone, and set up over a fishing-house, 5 that he had erected near his dwelling, on the bank of the little river Dove, which divides the counties of Stafford and Derby.
Mr. Cotton's book is a judicious supplement to Walton's; for it must not be concealed, that Walton, though he was so expert an angler, knew but little of fly-fishing; and indeed he is so ingenuous as to confess, that the greater part of what he has said on that subject was communicated to him by Mr. Thomas Barker, 6 and not the result of his own experience. This Mr. Barker was a good-humoured gossiping old man, and seems to have been a cook; for he says, “ he had been admitted into the most ambassadors'kitchens, that had come to England for forty years, and drest fish for them;" for which, he says, “ he was duly paid by the Lord Protector.” He spent a
(1) Epistle to the Reader of the Collection of Lives. (2) Dedication of the Lives.
(3) Zouch says that apartments for Walton and his daughters were reseryed both in the house of the bishop of Winchester, and in that of the bishop of Salisbury.
(4) See Walton's Letter to Cotton, before the Second Part.
great deal of time, and, it seems, money too, in fishing; and in the latter part of his life, dwelt in an alm shouse near the Gatehouse, Westminster. In 1651, two years before the first publication of Walton's work, he published a work in 12mo. called the Art of Angling, to which he affixed his name:1 he published in 1653 a second edition, in 4to, under the same title, but without his name : and in 1659 he published the third edition of it, under the enlarged title of Barker's Delight, or the Art of Angling. And, for that singular vein of humour that runs through it, à most diverting book it is. The Dedication of this performance to Edward lord Montague, ge. neral of the navy, is given in the margin;? and the reader will meet with some further specimens of the author's style and manner of writing, in the notes on the present edition.
And of Cotton it must be said, that living in a country were flyfishing was, and is, almost the only practice, he had not only the means of acquiring, but actually possessed more skill in the art, as also in the method of making flies, than most men of his time.
(1) Walton, in the first edition, pa. 108, says, “I will tell you freely, I find Mr. Thomas Barker a gentleman that has spent much time and money in angling, deal so judiciously and freely in a little book of his ot angling, and especially of making and angling with a fly for a trout, that I will give vou his very directions without much variation, which shall follow.” In his fifth edition, he again nientions the use which he had made of Barker's book, but in different words: “I shall give some other directions for flyfishing, such as are given by Mr. Thomas Barker, a gentleman that hath spent much time in fishing, but I shall do it with a little variation."
(2) “ Noble Lord !
i í do present this my book as I have named it, Barker's Delight, to vonr honour, I pray God send you safe home, to your good lady and sweet babes. Amen, Amen. If you shall find any thing delightful in the reading of it, I shall heartily rejoice ; for I know you are one who takes delight in that pleasure, and have good judgnient and experience,-as many noble persons and gentlemen of true piety and honour do, and have. The favour that I have found from you, and a great many more, that did and do love that pleasure, shall never be bury'd in oblivion by nie. I am now grown old, and am willing to enlarge my little book. I have written no more but my own experience and practice; and have set forth the true ground of angling, which I have been gathering these threescore years; having spent many pounds in the gaining of it, as is well known in the place where I was born and educated, which is Bracemeale, in the liberty of Salop; being a freeman and burgess of the same city. If any noble or gentle angler, of what degree soever he be, have a mind to discourse of any of these ways and experiments, I live in Henry the VIlth's Gifts, the next door to the Gatehouse in Westminster : my name is Barker; where I shall be ready, as long as please God, to satisfy them and maintain my art during life, which is not like to be long; that the younger fry may have my experiments at a smaller charge than I had them: for it would be too heavy for every one that loveth that exercise, to be at the charge as I was at first in my youth, the loss of my time, with great expenses. There. fore, I took it in consideration ; and thought fit to let it be understood, and to take pains to set forth the true grounds and ways, that I have found by experience both for fitting of the rods and tackles, both for ground-baits, and flies; with the directions for the making thereof; with observations for times and seasons for the ground-baits, and flies, both for day and night, with the dressing; wherein I take as much delight as in the taking of them; and to shew how I can perform it, to furnish any lord's table only with Trouts, as it is furnished with flesh, for sixteen or twenty dishes. And I have a desire to preserve their health, (with the help of God) to go dry in their boots and shoes in angling ;* for age taketh the pleasure from me."
* See his recipe for this purpose, in the Notes on Chap. XVII.
· 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
(9) Lives of the English Dramatic Poets, art. Cha. Cotton, Esq.
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. 1
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 Sander. son'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 notice 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.“ Life 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 till 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, în 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 fatter 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.