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your game will be very shy and wary, and you shall hardly get above a bite or two at a baiting: then your only way is to desist from your sport, about two or three days: and in the mean time, on the place you late baited, and again intend to bait, you shall take a turf of green but short grass, as big or bigger than a round trencher; to the top of this turf, on the green side, you shall, with a needle and green thread, fasten one by one, as many little red worms as will near cover all the turf: then take a round board or trencher, make a hole in the middle thereof, and through the turf placed on the board or trencher, with a string or cord as long as is fitting, tied to a pole, let it down to the bottom of the water, for the fish to feed upon without disturbance about two or three days; and after that you have drawn it away, you may fall to, and enjoy your former recreation. B. A.
Piscator. The Tench, the physician of fishes, is observed to love ponds better than rivers, and to love pits better than either: Chap. XI. vet Camden observes, there is a river in DorsetOn the Tench. snire that abounds with Tenches, but doubtless they retire to the most deep and quiet places in it.
This fish hath very large fins, very small and smooth scales, a red circle about his eyes, which are big and of a gold colour, and from either angle of his mouth there hangs down a little barb. In every Tench's head there are two little stones which foreign physicians make great use of, but he is not commended for wholesome meat,* though there be very much use made of them for outward applications. Rondcletius says, that at his being at Rome, he saw a great cure done by applying a Tench to the feet of a very sick man. This, he says, was done after an unusual manner, by certain Jews. And it is observed that many of those people have many secrets yet unknown to Christians; secrets that have never yet been written, but have been since the days of their Solomon, who knew the nature of all things, even from the cedar to the shrub, delivered by tradition, from the father to the son, and so from generation to generation, without writing; or, unless
* The following directions for dressing the Tench, as practised in the fourteenth century, is taken irom the Harleian MS. No. 279, fo. 18 b: "Tcnchc in bructte. Take the Tenche an sethe hem and rostc hem, an grynde pepir, an safroun, bred and ale, and tempcre wyth the brothe an boyle it, then take the Tenche y rostyd an ley hym on a chargeoure, than lay on the scwe above.
"Tenche in eyneyc. Take a Tenche an skaldc hym, rostc hym, grynde pepir an safroun, bredc an ale, and messe it to gederys, take onyonys, hakke hem an frye hem in oyle, and do hem thereto and messc hem forth.
"Tenche in sawce. Take a Tenche whan he is y sothe, and ley hym on a dysslie, take percely and onyonys and mynce hem to gederys, take pouder pepir and canelle and straw thereon, take vynegre an caste safroun thereon, an colourc it an serve it forth whanne all coldc."
it were casually, without the least communicating them to anyother nation or tribe; for to do that they account a profanation. And, yet, it is thought that they, or some spirit worse than they, first told us, that lice, swallowed alive, were a certain cure for the yellow jaundice. This, and many other medicines, were discovered by them, or by revelation; for, doubtless, we attained them not by study.5
Well, this fish, besides his eating, is very useful, both dead and alive, for the good of mankind. But I will meddle no more with that, my honest, humble art teaches no such boldness: there are too many foolish meddlers in physic and divinity that think themselves fit to meddle with hidden secrets, and so bring destruction to their followers. But Til not meddle with them, any farther than to wish them wiser; and shall tell you next, for I hope I may be so bold, that the Tench is the physician of fishes, for the Pike especially, and that the Pike, being either sick or hurt, is cured by the touch of the Tench. And it is observed that the tyrant Pike will not be a wolf to his physician, but forbears to devour him though he be never so hungry.*
This fish, that carries a natural balsam in him to cure bota himself and others, loves yet to feed in very foul water, and
5 The observations on the Tench originally appeared in very different form, but with the exception of the passage beginning "and yet it is thought," and ending "not by study," were altered as in the text in the stcond edition. The passage alluded to was inserted in the third and subsequent editions. The first edition ran thus: "The Tench is observed to love to live in ponds! but if he be in a river, then in the still places of the river; he is observed to be a physician to other fishes and is so called by many that hav* been searchers into the nature of fish; and it is said that a pike will neither devour rter hurt him, because the pike being sick or hurt by any accident, is cured by touching the Tench, and the Tench does the like to other fishes, either by touching them or by being in their company.
"Rondcletius says in his discourse of fishes, quoted by Gesner, that at his being at Rome, he saw certain Tews apply Tenches to the feet of a sick man for a cure : and it is observed, that many of those people have many secrets unknown to Christians, srercts which have never been written, but have been successively, since the days of Solomon, who knew the nature of all things from the shrub to the cedar, delivered by tradition from the father to the son, and so from generation to generation without writing, or unless it were casually, without the least communicating them to any other nation or tribe, for to do so, they account a prophanation: yet this fish that does by a natural inbred balsam, not only cure himself if he be wounded, but others also, love* not to live in clear streams paved with gravel, but in standing waters where mud and the worst of weeds abound, and therefore it is I think, that this Tench is by so many accounted belter for medicines than for meat: but for the first I am able to say little, and for the tatter, can say positively, that he cats pleasantly, and will therefore give you a few and but a few directions how to catch him.
"He will bite at a paste," &c, as in the text.
* That this idea prevailed nearly a century before the time when Walton wrote, appears by the following extract from Lord Burleigh's Papers: "The pcrche and the pike will agree best together, and the pike will not hurt the tenche, as being the physician or all frcshe-water fishe."—Burleigh Papers, Lansd. MS. lor, art. 9.