Imágenes de página
PDF

Our sports and life "ft contemned are
By men that spare

No cost of time, wealth, life, to gain their end,
And often spend

Them all in hopes some happiness to see

In what they arc not, but they mean to be.

We will not search for that we may not find,

But dearly bind
Our hearts, friend Izaak, in a tighter knot,

And this our lot
Here long to live together in repose.
Till death for us the peaceful scene shall close.

early the next morning, refused to take anything for my fare; saying, 'Vou seem to be travelling for the good of the world, and I cannot, I will not charge you anything; whenever you come this way, call and stay with me, you shall be welcome.' This is the first instance of such hospitality which I have met with in the United States."

On this passage the American Reviewer observes :—

"Upon reading this note, our faith in the doctrine of Pythagoras grew strong. Can it be that the soul of that gentle parent of the angle, old Izaac Walton, in winging its terrestrial flight from the margin of the sea, found a kindred tenement in mine excellent host of Tennessee? We fear poor Wilson never luxuriated over the verdant pages of that golden book, 'The Complete Angler,' or he would have anticipated our passing tribute to its author. We too had, peradventure, died in ignorance, had it not been pointed out to us by the venerable author of the Man of Feeling, himself a brother of the gentle craft. We recall the era of the event as one of the greenest spots both in our literary and piscatory existence, and have ever since held it a settled maxim of our belief, in defiance of which we are ready to do battle, that no brother of the angle can by any possibility prove a recreant." 4

The following beautiful sonnet on Walton, by Mr Moxon, would do credit to a veteran poet :—

"Walton I when weary of the worl.t, I turn
My pensive soul to thee, and soothing tind
The meekness of thy plain contented mind
Act like some healing charm. From thee I learn
To sympathise with Nature, nor repine
At Fortune, who, though lavish of her store,
Too often leaves her f.ivourites richly poor;
Wanting both health and energy divine,
Life's blessings to enjoy. Mcthinks, e'en now
I hear thee 'neath the milk-white scented thorn
Communing with thy pupil, as the morn
Her rosy cheek displays; while streams that (low,
And all that gambol near their rippling source,
Enchanted listen to thy sweet discourse."

Two scholars, of some celebrity for their accomplishments and taste, have combined to do honour to Walton in the annexed verses. The original was written by James Park, Esq., late Professor of Law, of King's College, London;5 and the translation is by Archdeacon Wrangham :—

"At nobis rigui fontes et fiumina cordi;
Nos potius tua, Sancta Senex, veneranda per xvum
Auguria, ct grato excquimur prajcepta labore;
Omnia qua: quondam Lerc lahentis ad undam
Cantasti : ncijuc cnim mihi fas Wm.tonk, tacere
Mentcm in te facilem, et nulhs pallentia culpis
Pectora, et antiqua* sanctam pictate scnectam.

* American Review, No. xvi. December 1S30, p. 376.

* Printed in the Cambridge Triposes of 1802.

Felix, cut placida: fraudes atque otia cura:,
Piscator! tibi cnim tranquillo in curdc sevcrum
Subsidet desiderium, tibi sedulus angor:
Dum tremula undarum facies, et mobitis umbra,
Dual purse grave murmur aqua:, virtute quieta
Composuere animum, et blandis affectibus iniplent/*

Mine be the brook's green side, the river stream,
Whilst sti!', obedient to the instructive theme,
Sport of thy simple mils'- by eliding Lea,
I strive with grateful toil, to follow thee.
Por, Walton, crime it were to leave unsung
Thy gentle mind, thy breast unbianch'd by wrong;
And, vivid glewing on the graphic page,
Thy guileless manners, and thy hallowed age.

Happy Piscator I with the viewless line
Tranquil to dupe the finny tribe was thine.
Pled from thy tranquil bosom gnawing care,
No tumult throbb'd, no malice darken d there;
The stream light quivering to the summer breeze,
The quickly-shifting shade of clouds or trees,
The ripple's murmur breathed a holy re-t.
And to complacent calmness lull'd thy breast."

There is truth in the remark of the first of the modern editors of the "Complete Angler," the Reverend Moses Browne, that " it was chiefly by Walton's pleasing sweetness of nature and conversation, innate simplicity of manners, and, above all, his religious integrity and undissembled honesty of heart, for which he was so remarked and endeared to the affections of all that ever knew him. They sat so naturally on him, you may trace them in everything he writ; he drew his own picture in almost every line; I think there are hardly any writings ever showed more the features and limbs, the very spirit and heart, of an author."

Dr Zouch has almost exhausted panegyric in his praises of Walton; and has thus commented upon his personal appearance in the conclusion of his memoir. The engraving to which he alludes gives a very imperfect idea of the original; but his description is still more applicable to the perfect copy of Walton's portrait, which is prefixed to this volume. "The features of the countenance," he says, "often enable us to form a judgment, not very fallible, of the disposition of the mind. In few portraits can this discovery be more successfully pursued than in that of Izaak Walton. Lavater, the acute master of physiognomy, would, I think, instantly acknowledge in it the decisive traits of the original,— mild complacency, forbearance, mature consideration, calm activity, peace, sound understanding, power of thought, discerning attention, and secretly active friendship. Happy in his unblemished integrity, happy in the approbation and esteem of others, he inwraps himself in his own virtue. The exultation of a good conscience eminently shines forth in this venerable person—

* Candida semper
Gaudia, ct in vultu curarum ignara voluptas.'"

The cento of Walton's praises would not be complete without an allusion to the glowing descriptions of his merits, which occur in the edition of Pope's Works, as well as in the Life of Bishop Ken, by the Rev. William Lisle Bowles, whose genius and goodness alike give value to his eulogy. If the gentle spirit of "honest Izaak" is permitted to know by whom his memory is cherished, it has derived the highest gratification from the tributes paid to his virtues by the Rector of Bremhill, the friend of his descendant, and from congenial feelings, the warm admirer of the talents, piety, and moral excellence, for which Isaak Walton was distinguished.

I

« AnteriorContinuar »