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TO MY MOST WORTHY FATHER* AND FRIEND, MR IZAAK WALTON THE ELDER.

Sir,—Being you were pleased, some years past, to grant me your free leave to do what I have here attempted, and observing you never retract any promise when made in favour even of your meanest friends; I accordingly expect to see these following particular Directions for the taking of a Trout, to wait upon your better and more general Rules for all sorts of Angling. And, though mine be neither so perfect, so well digested, nor indeed so handsomely couched, as they might have been, in so long a time as since your leave was granted, yet I dare affirm them to be generally true: and they had appeared too in something a neater dress, but that I was surprised with the sudden news of a sudden new edition of your COMPLETE ANGLER; so that, having but a little more than ten days' time to turn me in, and rub up my memory (for, in truth, I have not, in all this long time, though I have often thought on't, and almost as often resolved to go presently about it), I was forced, upon the instant, to scribble what I here present you : which I have also endeavoured to accommodate to your own method. And, if mine be clear enough for the honest Brothers of the Angle readily to understand (which is the only thing I aim at), then I have my end; and shall need to make no further apology; a writing of this kind not requiring (if I were master of any such thing) any eloquence to set it off, or recommend it; so that if you, in your better judgment, or kindness rather, can allow it passable, for a thing of this nature, you will then do me honour if the Cipher fixt and carved in the front of

* It was a practice with the pretended masters of the Hermetic science, to adopt favourite persons for their sons, to whom they imparted their secrets. Ashmole, in his Diary, p. 35, says, "Mr Backhouse told me, I must now needs be his son, because he had communicated so many secrets to me." And a little after, p. 37, " My father Backhouse, lying sick in Fleet Street, told me, in syllables, the true matter of the philosopher's stone, which he bequeathed to me as a legacy." See more of this practice, and of the tremendous solemnities with which the secret was communicated, in Ashmole's Theat. Ckem. Brit. p. 440.

In a similar manner, Ben Jonson adopted several persons as his sons, to the number of twelve or fourteen : among whom were Cartwright, Randolph, and Alexander Brome. And it should seem, by the text, that Walton followed the above-mentioned examples, by adopting Cotton for his son.

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my little fishing-house, may be here explained: and, to permit me to attend you in public, who, in private, have ever been, am, and ever resolve to be, Sir, your most affectionate Son and Servant, Charles Cotton.

Beresford, loth of March 1675-6.

TO MY MOST HONOURED FRIEND, CHARLES COTTON, ESQ.

Sir,—You now see I have returned you your very pleasant and useful Discourse of the Art of Fly-fishing, printed just as it was sent me; for I have been so obedient to your desires, as to endure all the praises you have ventured to fix upon me in it. And when I have thanked you for them, as the effects of an undissembled love, then, let me tell you, Sir, that I will really endeavour to live up to the character you have given of me, if there were no other reason, yet for this alone, that you, that love me so well, and always think what you speak, may not, for my sake, suffer by a mistake in your judgment.

And, Sir, I have ventured to fill a part of your margin, by way of paraphrase, for the reader's clearer understanding the situation both of your Fishing-house, and the pleasantness of that you dwell in. And I have ventured also to give him a Copy of Verses that you were pleased to send me, now, some years past, in which he may see a good picture of both; and so much of your own mind too, as will make any reader, that is blest with a generous soul, to love you the better. I confess, that for doing this you may justly judge me too bold: if you do, I will say so too; and so far commute for my offence that, though I be more than a hundred miles from you, and in the eighty-third year of my age, yet I will forget both, and next month begin a pilgrimage to beg your pardon; for I would die in your favour, and till then will live, Sir, your most affectionate Father and Friend,

Izaak Walton.*

London, April 29, 1676.

* This letter, and the Retirement, are placed at the close of the Second Part, in the edition of 1676.

THE RETIREMENT.

STANZES IRREGULIERS TO MR IZAAK WALTON.

I.

Farewell, thou busy world, and may
We never meet again;
Here I can eat, and sleep, and pray,
And do more good in one short day
Than he who his whole age outwears
Upon thy most conspicuous theatres,
Where nought, but1 vanity and vice appears.

IL

Good God 1 how sweet are all things here!
How beautiful the fields appear!
How cleanly do we feed and lie!
Lord! what good hours do we keep!

How quietly we sleep!
What peace! what unanimity!
How innocent from the lewd fashion
Is all our business, all our* recreation I

III.

Oh how happy here's our leisure!
Oh how innocent our pleasure!
Oh ye valleys, oh ye mountains!
Oh ye groves and crystal fountains,

How I love at liberty,
By turn to come and visit ye!

IV.

Dear solitude,9 the soul's best friend,
That man acquainted with himself dost make,
And all his Maker's wonders to intend:
With thee I here converse at will,
And would be glad to do so still,
For it is thou alone that keep'st the soul awake.

Variations from Cotton's Posthumous Poems, 8vo, 1689. 1 vice and vanity do reign. * conversation. 3 O solitude. v.

How calm and quiet a delight

It is alone To read, and meditate, and Write, By none offended, and offending none! To walk, ride, sit, or sleep at one's own ease, And pleasing a man's self, none other to displease!

VI.

Oh my beloved nymph ! fair Dove;
Princess of rivers, how I love
Upon thy flowery banks to lie;

And view thy silver stream,
When gilded by a summer's beam,
And in it all thy wanton fry

Playing at liberty,
And with my angle upon them

The all of treachery
I ever learnt, industriously to try.*

VII.

Such streams Rome's yellow Tyber cannot show, Th' Iberian Tagus, nor I.igurian Po;

The Meuse, the Danube, and the Rhine Are puddle-water all compar'd with thine; And Loire's pure streams yet too polluted are

With thine, much purer to compare;
The rapid Garonne, and the winding Seine,

Are both too mean,
Beloved Dove, witli thee
To vie priority;
Nay, Tame and Isis, when conjoin'd, submit,
And lay their trophies at thy silver feet.

VIII.

Oh my beloved rocks! that rise
To awe the earth, and brave the skies,
From some aspiring mountain's crown,
How dearly do I love,
Giddy with pleasure, to look down;
And, from the vales to view the noble heights above 1

IX.

Oh my beloved caves! from dog-star's heat
And all anxieties, my safe retreat:1
What safety, privacy, what true delight,

In the artificial night,

Your gloomy entrails make,
Have I taken, do I take!

VARIATIONS.

4 I ever learn'd to practise and to try I

5 And hotter persecution safe retreats.

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