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"ever-welcome company" in the approaching fishing season, does not occur; but the allusion to Dr King's appointment as Dean of Rochester, in which office he was installed on the 6th of February 1638—9,2 fixes it to the early part of the year 1639:
"My Worthy Friend,—I am not able to yield any reason, no, not so much as may satisfy myself, why a most ingenuous letter of yours hath lain so long by me (as it were in lavender) without an answer, save this only, the pleasure I have taken in your style and conceptions, together with a meditation of the subject you propound, may seem to have cast me into a gentle slumber. But being now awaked, I do herein return you most hearty thanks for the kind prosecution of your first motion, touching a just office due to the memory of our ever-memorable friend, to whose good fame, though it be needless to add anything (and my age considered, almost hopeless from my pen) ; yet I will endeavour to perform my promise, if it were but even for this cause, that in saying somewhat of the life of so deserving a man, I may perchance over-live mine own. That which you add of Dr King (now made Dean of Rochester, and by that translated into my native soil), is a great spur unto me: with whom I hope shortly to confer about it in my passage towards Boughton Malherb, which was my genial air, and invite him to a friendship with that family where his predecessor was familiarly acquainted. I shall write to you at large by the next messenger (l>eing at present a little in business), and then I shall set down certain general heads, wherein I desire information by your loving diligence; hoping shortly to enjoy your own ever-welcome company in this approaching time of the Fly and the Cork. And so I rest, your very hearty poor friend to serve you, H. WoTTON." ■
Sir Henry Wotton died in the ensuing December; and on Walton's hearing that Dr Donne's Sermons were about to be published without a life of the author, he determined to supply the deficiency. His motives for becoming Donne's biographer are explained in so natural and pleasing a manner in his " Introduction," dated on the 15th February 1639 (1640), that it ought not to be omitted:
"If that great master of language and art, Sir Henry Wotton, the late provost of Eton College, had lived to see the publication of these sermons, he had presented the world with the author's life exactly written; and it was pity he did not; for it was a work worthy his undertaking, and he fit to undertake it: betwixt whom, and the author, there was so mutual a knowledge, and such a friendship contracted in their youth, as nothing but death could force a separation. And though their bodies were divided, their affections were not: for that learned knight's love followed his friend's fame beyond death and the forgetful grave: which he testified by entreating me, whom he acquainted with his design, to inquire of some particulars that concerned it, not doubting but my knowledge of the author, and love to his memory, might make my diligence useful. I did most
2 Le Neve's Fasti Ecclesise Anglicanae. 3 Reliquiae Wottoniaiue, ed. 1685, p. 360.
gladly undertake the employment, and continued it with great content, till I had made my collection ready to be augmented and completed by his matchless pen; but then death prevented his intentions. When I heard that sad news, and heard also that these sermons were to be printed and want the author's life, which I thought to be very remarkable; indignation or grief (indeed I know not which) transported me so far, that I reviewed my forsaken collections, and resolved the world should see the best plain picture of the author's life that my artless pencil, guided by the hand of truth, could present to it. And if I shall now be demanded, as once Pompey's poor bondman was ;—(the grateful wretch had been left alone on the sea-shore, with the forsaken dead body of his once glorious lord and master: and was then gathering the scattered pieces of an old broken boat to make a funeral pile to burn it, which was the custom of the Romans)—' Who art thou that alone hast the honour to bury the body of Ponipey the Great?' so, who am I that do thus officiously set the author's memory on fire? I hope the question will prove to have in it more of wonder than disdain. But wonder indeed the reader may, that I, who profess myself artless, should presume with my faint light to show forth his life, whose very name makes it illustrious! but be this to the disadvantage of the person represented, certain I am it is to the advantage of the beholder; who shall here see the author's picture in a natural dress which ought to beget faith in what is spoken : for he that wants skill to deceive may safely be trusted. And if the author's glorious spirit, which now i« in heaven, can have the leisure to look down and see me, the poorest, the meanest of all his friends, in the midst of this officious duty, confident I am, that he will not disdain this well-meant sacrifice to his memory: for, whilst his conversation made me and many others happy below, I know his humility and gentleness were then eminent; and I have heard divines say, those virtues that were but sparks upon earth, become great and glorious flames in heaven."4
The first volume of Donne's Sermons, to which his life was prefixed, was published in 1640 in folio, by John Marriott, probably the father of the Richard Marriott who was Walton's friend as well as publisher for nearly half a century.
Walton's first essay as a biographer was highly applauded by his contemporaries. King Charles the First, whose private virtues and literary acquirements gave greater value to his opinion than even his exalted rank, honoured it with his approbation ; 5 and the learned and "ever-memorable" John Hales, who was styled from his vast erudition " the walking library," told Dr King that "he had not seen a life written with more advantage to the subject, or more reputation to the writer, than that of Dr Donne." But the following letter to Walton from Donne's eldest son, thanking him for having written the life of his father, and sending
* Walton's Lives, cd. Zouch, I. pp. 37-40.
* See Walton's Dedication of the reprint of the Life of Donne in 1658, postea.
him, as a token of his gratitude, a copy of the volume of sermons 6 in which it occurred, was probably more agreeable to Walton's feelings than the praises of the great and the learned:
"sir,—I send this book rather to witness my debt than to make any payment. For it would be uncivil in me to offer any satisfaction for that that all my father's friends, and indeed all good men are so equally engaged. Courtesies that are done to the dead being examples of so much piety, that they cannot have their reward in this life, because lasting as long, and still (by awaking the like charity in others) propagating the debt, they must expect a retribution from him who gave the first inclination. And by this circle, sir, I have set you in my place, and instead of making you a payment, I have made you a debtor ; but 'tis to Almighty God, to whom I know you will be so willingly committed, that I may safely take leave to write myself, your thankful servant, Jo. DONNE.7
"From my house in Covent Garden, 24th June 1640."
Sir John Hawkins says that in 1632 Walton was living in Chancery Lane, in a house a few doors higher up on the left hand than the one he had previously occupied, and that he was then described as a "sempster;" but his residence from 1628 until 1644,8 is stated in the parish books of St Dunstan's to have been about the seventh house on the left-hand side, though, unlike most other houses, that of Walton is not called a shop. From those records it also appears that he filled a parish office in December 1632; served on the grand jury in 1633 > was aPpointed a constable on the 20th of December 1636; was again on the grand jury in 1638; was one of the overseers of the poor, and a sidesman on the 18th of April 1639; and a vestryman in February 1640.
During Walton's residence in Chancery Lane, he experienced severe afflictions, by the loss of no less than seven children,9
8 The book in question, together with the original letter from the younger Donne to Walton, was in 1714 in the possession of the Rev. Dr Borradale, rector of Market Deeping, in Lincolnshire.—Hawkins's Life of Walton, p. 16, note.
'Zouch's Life of Walton, II. 322, 321.
8 Vide Appendix, Note H. The Books of the parish of St Dunstan's leave little or no doubt that Walton always lived in Chancery Lane during that period : but it is remarkable that the Parish Register of that church should state that his son Henry was baptized on the 21st March 1633-4, "out 0/Fleet Street," though as early as December 1627. as well as so lately as October 1632, his children are said to have been baptized or buried "out of Chancery Lane." Vide Appendix, Note H. The discrepancy would, however, disappear if Walton then resided in the corner house of Chancery Lane, which is partly in Fleet Street.
'Namely, Izaak, who was baptized 19th December 1627, and buried 28th March 1631; John, who was baptized 23d July 1629, and is presumed to have died soon afterwards; Thomas, baptized 20th January 1630-1, and was buried 6lh March following; Henrv, baptized 12th October 163a, and buried on the 17th of the same month; Henrv, baptized 21st March 1633-4, and buried 4th December 1634; Thomas, buried 19th August 1637; and Anne, born 10th July 1640, and died isih May 1642.
besides his wife and her mother, Mrs Floud, who appears to have formed part of his family. By her will, which was dated on the 20th of April 1635, and proved on the 27th of November following, wherein she described herself of the parish of St Dunstan in the West, widow, she bequeathed the sum of .£150 to her son, John Floud, to be paid to him when he attained the age of twentyeight; and she ordered that in the meantime it should be disposed of by her "loving cousin, Doctor John Spenser," and her " loving son, Izaak Walton," who were to pay him the interest yearly for his support; but if he died under that age, the money was to be equally divided between her son, Robert Floud, and her daughter, Rachel Walton. If. however, Mrs Walton died without issue, the whole sum was to go to her brother Robert; but in case she left children, each child was to be paid £,\o. She directed that her linen at Canterbury should be divided by her sister Cranmer between her two sons above mentioned; and her son John Floud was to have, besides, a silver-gilt salt and a cup. To "my son Izaak Walton and my daughter Rachel, his wife," she bequeathed ^50, and the interest then due; for which money she held a bond from a Mr John Burgess. To the poor of St Mildred's, Canterbury, she left .£40, which were to be distributed by her brother and sister Cranmer. She gave legacies of ten shillings each to her sister Field; to her cousin Dr Spenser, and to her cousin, his wife; to her brother and sister Cranmer; to her "son Walton," and her " daughter Walton ; " to her two sons, Robert and John Floud; to her cousin, Charles Sellar;1 and to her friend, Mr Leonard Browne;2 which several sums she said she gave them "to buy them rings for remembrance of me, being small testimonies of my great love." To her two cousins, Susannah and Elizabeth Cranmer, she left two pieces of old gold which were in her box at Canterbury; but her god-daughter Elizabeth was to have " the bigger piece." The rest of her property was given to her son and executor, Robert Floud.
Between four and five years after the death of his mother-in-law, the heaviest calamity to which domestic life is exposed befell Walton. On the 10th of July 1640, his wife was delivered of a daughter, but she only survived the birth of the infant about six weeks; and dying on the 22d, was buried in St Dunstan's on the
1 The son of Dr John Sellar, by her sister Ann Cranmer.
* Mr Leonard Browne was an alderman of Canterbury in 1663: and by Anne, daughter of Captain Richard Bargrave, of Patricksbourne, near that city, had two children, Isaac and Elizabeth.—Additional MSS. in the British Museum, 5507, f. 396.
25th of August following.3 That child was the only one which survived its mother: she received the name of Anne, and died in her second year on the nth of May 1642.4
Walton has described an affectionate and dutiful wife, and the happiness of the married state, with so much effect, that it is probable his own home presented him with the originals. Speaking of Herbert and his wife, he observes: "The eternal lover of mankind made them happy in each other's mutual and equal affections and compliance; indeed so happy, that there never was any opposition betwixt them, unless it were a contest which should most incline to a compliance with the other's desires. And though this begot, and continued in them, such a mutual love, and joy, and content, as was no way defective; yet this mutual content, and love, and joy, did receive a daily augmentation, by such daily obligingness to each other, as still added such new affluences to the former fulness of these divine souls, as was only improvable in heaven, where they now enjoy it." 5 His most pleasing picture of wedded happiness is, however, in the Life of Bishop Sanderson: "The Giver of all good things was so good to him, as to give him such a wife as was suitable to his own desires; a wife that made his life happy, by being always content when he was cheerful; that was always cheerful when he was content; that divided her joys with him, and abated of his sorrow, by bearing a part of that burden; a wife that demonstrated her affection by a cheerful obedience to all his desires, during the whole course of his life; and at his death too, for she outlived him." 6
Only one allusion to his first wife, and even that may be merely imaginary, can be traced in'Walton's works; and however sincere might be the compliment which is supposed to be there paid to her, it unfortunately brings to recollection the story of the man who had a picture painted of his first wife, and marrying again after her decease, desired the artist to erase the face from the canvas and to introduce the features of his new partner. In the stanzas called " The Angler's Wish," which were first printed in the third edition of the Complete Angler in 1664, and which were undoubtedly written by Walton, he speaks of the happiness it affords him to
"Hear my Chlora sing a song," s Vide Notes B and H in the Appendix
* The following entry occurs, in Walton's own hand, in his Prayer Book, which is noticed in the Appendix, Note B: "Our Dogiiter Anne, born tiie loth of July 1640, died the nth of May 1642."
5 Walton'* Lives, ed. Zouch, II. 67, 68. • Ibid. II. 183, 184.