« AnteriorContinuar »
Herbert (who then attended him in his restraint), to compare them with the original. The last still lives, and has declared it, with some other of that King's excellencies, in a letter under his own hand, which was lately showed me by Sir William Dugdale, king-at-arms. The translation was designed to be put into the King's library at St James's; but, I doubt, not now to be found there." 6
There is some difficulty in deciding whether the King made this communication to Dr Sanderson or to Dr Morley; but it is obvious that Walton heard of it from the latter, because Sanderson was dead when Walton wrote his memoir, and he expressly says that his informant was then living.
In 1646, Francis Quarles's " Shepherds' Eclogues " were printed by John and Richard Marriott, with an Address to the Reader dated on the 25th of November 1645, and signed "John Marriott;" but no one who is acquainted with Walton's style, and especially with "The Complete Angler," can doubt that this Address proceeded from his pen. As Quarles had been secretary to Walton's friend Archbishop Usher, and as he was a zealous Royalist,7 and apparently an angler,8 he was perhaps personally known to Walton. It is however certain that Walton was then well acquainted with the Marriotts, and nothing is more probable than that they should have requested him to write the prefatory matter to a posthumous work,9 which was to appear upon their responsibility. The internal evidence that the Address was written by Walton is so strong that it will be inserted without the slightest fear of its not being attributed to the real author:
"To The Reader,—Though the author had some years before his lamented death, composed, reviewed, and corrected these Eclogues; yet, he left no epistle to the reader, but only a title, and a blank leaf for that purpose. Whether he meant some allegorical exposition of the Shepherds' names, or their Eclogues, is doubtful: but 'tis certain, that as they are, they appear a perfect pattern of the author: whose person, and mind, were both lovely, and his conversation such as distilled pleasuie, knowledge, and virtue, into his friends and acquaintance. 'Tis confessed these Eclogues are not so wholly divine as many of his published Meditations, which speak 'his affections to be set upon things that are above,' and yet even such men have their intermitted hours, and (as their company gives
* Walton's Lives, ed. Zouch, II. 214, 217.
7 Biographia Britannica, edit. 1760, art. Quarles.
8 See several verses in his Eclogues.
9 It is said in the Biographia Britannica that Quarles died on the 8th September 1644; but according to the following statement in Smith's Obituary, Additional MS. 886, in the British Museum, he died on the 19th of that month; "Mr Francis Quarles, a famous poet, died joth September 1644."
occasion) commixtures of heavenly and earthly thoughts. You are therefore requested to fancy him cast by fortune into the company of some yet unknown shepherds, and you have a liberty to believe 'twas by this following accident.
"He in a summer's morning (about that hour when the great eye of heaven first opens itself to give light to us mortals), walking a gentle pace towards a brook (whose spring-head was not far distant from his peaceful habitation), fitted with angle, lines, and flies; flies proper for that season (being the fruitful month of May), intending all diligence to beguile the timorous trout (with which the watery element abounded), observed a more than common concourse of Shepherds, all bending their unwearied steps towards a pleasant meadow within his present prospect, and had his eyes made more happy to behold the two fair Shepherdesses, Amaryllis and Aminta, strewing the footpaths with lilies and ladysmocks, so newly gathered by their fair hands, that they yet smelt more sweet than the morning, and immediately met (attended with Clora, Clorinda, and many other wood-nymphs) the fair and virtuous Parthenia; who, after a courteous salutation and inquiry of his intended journey, told him the neighbour Shepherds of that part of Arcadia had dedicated that day to be kept holy to the honour of their god Pan; and that they had designed her mistress of a love-feast, which was to be kept that present day, in an arbour built that morning for that purpose. She told him also that Orpheus would be there and bring his harp, Pan his pipe, and Tityrus his oaten reed, to make music at this feast; she therefore persuaded him, not to lose, but change that day's pleasure; before he could return an answer, they were unawares entered into a living moving lane, made of Shepherds and Pilgrims, who had that morning measured many miles to be the eyewitnesses of that day's pleasure. This lane led them into a large arbour, whose walls were made of the yielding willow and smooth beech boughs, and covered over with sycamore leaves and honeysuckles. I might now tell in what manner (after her first entrance into this arbour) Philoclci (Philoclea, the fair Arcadian Shepherdess) crowned her temples with a garland, with what flowers, and by whom it was made; I might tell what guests (besides Astrea and Adonis) were at this feast; and who (besides Mercury) waited at the table, this I might tell: but may not, cannot express what music the Gods and Wood-Nymphs made within; and the linnets, larks, and nightingales about this arbour during this holy day; which began in harmless mirth, and (for Bacchus and his gang were absent) ended in love and peace, which Pan (for he only can do it) continue in Arcadia, and restore to the disturbed island of Britannia, and grant that each honest Shepherd may again sit under his own vine and fig-tree, and feed his own flock, and with love enjoy the fruits of peace, and be more thankful.
"Reader, at this time and place, the author contracted a friendship with certain single-hearted Shepherds, with whom (as he returned from his river recreations) he often rested himself; and, whilst in the calm evening their flocks fed about them, heard their discourse, which (with the Shepherds' names) is presented in these Eclogues.
"A friend of the author's wished me to tell thee so; this 23d of November 1645. Jo: Marriot."
About the year 1646 Walton again married. His second wife
was Anne, the daughter of Thomas Ken, an attorney in the Court of Common Pleas, by (his first wife) Jane, daughter of Rowland Hughes, of Essenden, in Hertfordshire, but the exact date of his marriage has not been discovered.1 The family of Ken2 is of considerable antiquity in Somersetshire, and has attained celebrity by having produced Thomas Ken, Bishop of Bath and Wells, a prelate distinguished for his learning, piety, and virtues.
Anne Ken could not have been less than five-and-thirty when she gave her hand to Izaak Walton, who was seventeen years her senior, he having then attained the mature age of about fifty-three. Of her personal attractions nothing is known, but her talents and acquirements were of a very superior order. She was eminently prudent, possessed very extensive information, and was of M the primitive piety," merits which, her husband states, were "adorned with true humility and much Christian meekness." Walton's marriage tended materially to increase his happiness, and the fifteen or sixteen years of their union seem to have been passed in the enjoyment of every comfort
According to Anthony Wood,3 who was well acquainted with
1 The record of the licence for their marriage cannot be found, and the registers of Crippiegate and of St Andrew's, Holboin, having been searched without success, there is 00 clue to the place where it was celebrated.
1 By his first wife, above named, Thomas Ken had three children, viz., Anne, who was born about I6to; Jane, who married John Symons; and Thomas, who is called "eldest son by the first wife" in the pedigree which his father entered in the Herald's Visitation of London in 1634, and who was buried at Crippiegate in February 1636. Mr Ken married, secondly, Martha, daughter of Jon Chalkhitl, of Kingsbury, in Middlesex, by whom (who died in March 1641) he had John Ken, born in June 1627, who died unmarried in 1651; Jon, born in July 1632, became treasurer to the East India Company, married Rose, sister of Sir Thomas Vernon of Coleman Street, and was living in 1683; Martha, born in June 1628; Mary, born in February 1630, who appears to nave died before 1638; Margaret, born in March 1631; Elizabeth, born in April 1635; another Mary, born in August 1638, aod died in December 1639; Martin, born in March 1641; and Thomas, born at Berkhamstead in July 1637, who became Bishop of Bath. Of Margaret, Elizabeth, and Martin Ken, nothing more has been discovered. So particular an account of the children of Thomas Ken is rendered necessary for the purpose of correcting an error which Mr Bowles, the latest biographer of Bishop Ken, has committed by stating that he was the issue of his father's first wife, and consequently that he was brother of the whole blood to Mrs Walton. This mistake is the more remarkable, because Mr Bowles professes to correct the statement of Hawkins, the grand-nephew and executor of the bishop, who says in his memoir of the prelate, printed only two years after his death, that he was "the youngest son of Thomas Ken, of Fumival's Inn, by Martha, his wife." A more experienced genealogist than Mr Bowles might, however, have been misled by finding that in the pedigree registered by his father in 1634, a Thomas Ken is expressly stated to have been his " eldest son by the first wife," but a comparison of dates at once shows that the bishop was a different person. The birth of Bishop Ken is proved by the certificate of his admission to Winchester College in January 1651, when he was thirteen years old, to have taken place about 1637, wherea* if he had been the Thomas who is mentioned in the Herald's Visitation of 1634, he must in 1651 have been at least twenty-five, because John Ken, his half-brother, and the issue of his father's second marriage, was baptized on the 7th of January 1627. The certificate of the burial in February 1636, of the Thomas Ken who was living in 1634 (which has only lately been obtained), places the point beyond dispute.
* Athen. Oxon. by Bliss, I. 698.
Walton, and might be supposed to have been accurately informed, of the fact, he continued "in Chancery Lane till about 1643 (at which time he found it dangerous for honest men to be there), he left that city, and lived sometimes at Stafford and elsewhere, but mostly in the families of the eminent clergymen of England, of whom he was much beloved." The part of this statement which fixes Walton's removal from London to the year 1643 has been proved erroneous, because he did not leave Chancery Lane until about August 1644; and as he was certainly in London in January 1645, and in December 1647, and, as will be afterwards shown, was living there in 1650, it is extremely doubtful when, if ever, he retired to Stafford. Very little has been discovered respecting him between 1645 and 1650; and it does not appear that he printed anything in that period; but it has been confidently stated by many writers that Walton sought seclusion and safety during the civil wars, in a cottage of his own near to his native town of Stafford, where he indulged in his favourite pursuits of literature and angling. Disgusted with public events, and grieved to the heart at the murder of his sovereign, the destruction of the Episcopal Church, and the dispersion and distress of its conscientious ministers, among the most eminent of whom were many of his dearest friends, he probably refrained from reflecting upon events which he could only bitterly deplore; but it is nearly certain that he did not leave London, excepting for temporary and occasional visits to Stafford, until after the Restoration.
Mr Bowles, in his Life of Bishop Ken,4 has not only assumed that Dr Morley was Walton's guest, at his cottage in Staffordshire, from April 1648 until the first week in May 1649,6 but he exercised the poetical talents for which he is justly celebrated, by imagining a dialogue to have taken place between Morley and Walton and his wife during Morley's visit. It is always painful to destroy the fabrics of genius; but biography is not a proper field for flights of poesy; and however pleasing might be such an episode in the life of Walton, as his having afforded shelter to the venerable Morley in his adversity, contrasting, as it would forcibly have done, with Walton's having passed the latter years of his life in the episcopal residences of that eminent person, it must nevertheless be said, that there is no evidence that Morley ever visited Walton in Staffordshire, or that he was indebted to him for any particular services.
* Life of Ken, vol. i. p. 139. Mr Bowles' authority for stating that Morley took ithelter with Walton in Staffordshire, after his ejection from Oxford, appears to have been derived from traditional information only. Ibid. pp. 93-95.
* Vol. i. p. 99, et seq.
It is remarkable that no other allusion should occur in Walton's works to his having resided at or in the neighbourhood of Stafford, than a line in the song called "The Angler's Wish," before mentioned, wherein he says that one of his desires is to
"Loiter long days near Shawford brook,"
the name of the part of the river Sow, about five miles from Stafford, which runs through the land bequeathed by Walton to the corporation of that town for charitable purposes; but as this wish > may have been formed at a distance from the locality, it is no proof that the writer was habitually indulging in the gratification, at the time when the desire for it was expressed. That Walton visited Stafford occasionally is however indisputable.
On the nth of March 1648, and probably in London, Mrs Walton was delivered of a daughter, who received her mother's name of Anne. This event is recorded in Walton's handwriting, with many other entries of a similar nature, in a copy of his prayer-book 6 formerly belonging to Dr Hawes; and as it is a very interesting relic of the original owner, and has been celebrated by Mr Bowles,7 it is proper to state that the book in question is a small folio edition of "The Book of Common Prayer and Administration of the Sacraments and other Rites and Ceremonies of the Church of England," printed by Barker in 1639; and that it has always remained in the possession of his descendants.
Before the year 1650 Walton took a house in the parish of Clerkenwell, where Mrs Walton gave birth to a son, who was baptized in St James's Church by the name of Isaak, on the 10th of February 1650; but this child lived only a few months, and was buried at Clerkenwell on the 10th of June following.8 The disappointment which Walton had frequently experienced in not having a son to inherit his good name, was however happily compensated in the ensuing year, when his wife was again delivered of a boy, of whose birth the annexed account was written by his father in the family prayer-book, which agrees with the parish register of Clerkenwell : 9 " My last son Isaac, born the 7th of September 1651, at half an hour after two o'clock in the afternoon, being Sunday, and so was baptized in the evening by Mr Thrus
6 "My doghter Anne borne the eleventh of March 1647." [1647-8.]
7 Life of Ken, vol. i. passim.
8 "Isaacke sonne to Isaack Walton and . . . ux. x'pened 10th February 1640."— Register of St James's, Clerkenwell.
"Isaacke sonn to Isaack Walton, [buried] 10th Tune 1650."—Ibid.
• "Isaack son to Isaack Walton and . . . x pened 7th September 1651."—Register of the parish of Clerkenwell, which also contains the following entrv of a son alGeorgt Walton: "Abraham son to Geo. Walton, [buried] x8th March 1653.''