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We have gentles in a horn,
None do here
Use to swear,
Oaths do fray
We sit still,
And watch our quill;
If the Sun's excessive heat
Where in a dike
Pearch or Pike,
Roach or Dace,
We do chase,
Bleak or Gudgeon
Or we sometimes pass an hour
Where we may
Think and pray,
Ven. Well sung, Master; this day's fortune and pleasure, and this night's company and song, do all make me more and more in love with Angling. Gentlemen, my Master left me alone for an hour this day, and I verily believe he retired himself from talking with me, that he might be so perfect in this song; was it not, Master?
Pise. Yes indeed, for it is many years since I learned it, and having forgotten a part of it, I was forced to patch it up by the help of mine own invention, who am not excellent at poetry, as my part of the song may testify: but of that I will say no more, lest you should think I mean by discommending it to beg your commendations of it. And therefore, without replications, let's hear your catch, Scholar, which I hope will be a good one, for you are both musical, and have a good fancy to boot.
Ven. Marry, and that you shall, and as freely as I would have my honest Master tell me some more secrets of fish and fishing as we walk and fish towards London to-morrow. But Master, first let me tell you that, that very hour which you were absent from me, I sat down under a Willow-tree by the
water-side, and considered what you had told me of the owner of that pleasant meadow in which you then left me; that he had a plentiful estate, and not a heart to think so; that he had at this time many law-suits depending, and that they both damped his mirth, and took up so much of his time and thoughts, that he himself had not leisure to take the sweet content that I, who pretended no title to them, took in his fields; for I could there sit quietly, and looking on the water, see some fishes sport themselves in the silver streams, others, leaping at flies of several shapes and colours; looking on the hills, I could behold them spotted with woods and groves; looking down the meadows, could see here a boy gathering Lilies and Ladysmocks, and there a girl cropping Culverkeyes and Cowslips, all to make Garlands suitable to this present month of May: these, and many other fieldflowers, so perfumed the air, that I thought that very meadow, like that field in Sicily, of which Diodorus speaks, where the perfumes arising from the place, make all dogs that hunt in it to fall off, and to lose their hottest scent. I say, as I thus sat joying in my own happy condition, and pitying this poor rich man, that owned this and many other pleasant groves and meadows about me, I did thankfully remember what my Saviour said, that the Meek possess the earth; or rather, they enjoy what the other possess and enjoy not; for Anglers, and meek, quietspirited men, are free from those high, those restless thoughts, which corrode the sweets of life; and they, and they only, can say, as the poet has happily expressed it;
Hail blest estate of lowliness!
Happy enjoyments of such minds,
As rich in self-contentedness,
Can, like the reeds in roughest winds,
There came also into my mind at that time, certain verses in praise of a mean estate and an humble mind; they were written by Phineas Fletcher, an excellent Divine, and an excellent Angler, and the author of excellent Piscatory Eclogues, in which you shall see the picture of this good man's mind, and I wish mine to be like it.
No empty hopes, no courtly fears him fright,
But sweet content exiles both misery and spite.
Is full of thousand sweets, and rich content; The smooth-leav'd beeches in the field receive him
With coolest shade, till noon-tide's heat be spent:
His bed, more safe than soft, yields quiet sleeps,
His little son, into his bosom creeps, The lively picture of his father s face; His humble house, or poor state, ne'er torment him, Less he could like, if less his God had lent him, And when he dies, green turfs do for a tomb content him.
Gentlemen, these were a part of the thoughts that then possessed me, and I there made a conversion of a piece of an old catch, and added more to it, fitting them to be sung by us Anglers: come, Master, you can sing well, you must sing a part of it as it is in this paper.
Pet. I marry, Sir, this is music indeed, this has cheered my heart, and made me to remember six verses in praise of Music, which I will speak to you instantly.
Music, miraculous rhetoric!—that speak'st sense
Without a tongue, excelling eloquence;
With what ease might thy errors be excus'd,
Wert thou as truly lov'd as thou'rt abus'd?
But though dull souls neglect, and some reprove thee,
I ^cannot hate thee, 'cause the Angels love thee.
Ven. And the repetition of these last verses of Music, have called to my memory what Mr. Ed. Waller, a Lover of the Angle, says of Love and Music.
Whilst I listen to thy voice,
Chloris, I feel my heart decay:
Calls my fleeting soul away;