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TO MY DEAR BROTHER-IN-LAW,t MR IZAAK WALTON,
UPON HIS "COMPLETE ANGLER."
Erasmus in his learned Colloquies
Has mixt some toys,5 that by varieties
He might entice all readers: for in him
Each child may wade, or tallest giant swim.
And such is this discourse: there's none so low,
Or highly learn'd, to whom hence may not flow
Pleasure and information : both which are
Taught us with so much art, that I might swear
Safely, the choicest critic cannot tell,
Whether your matchless judgment most excel
In Angling or its praise: where commendation
First charms, then makes an art a recreation.
'Twas so to me; who so the cheerful spring
Pictur'd in every meadow, heard birds sing
Sonnets in every grove, saw fishes play
In the cool crystal streams, like lambs in May:
And they may play, till Anglers read this Book;
But after, 'tis a wise fish 'scapes a hook.
Jo. Floud, Mr. of Arts*
TO THE READER OF "THE COMPLETE ANGLER."
First mark the Title well: my Friend that gave it
Has made it good; this book deserves to have it.
Variation.] a mirth.—3d edit, as in text in yl edit.
* None of the verses occur in the first, hut they are all to be found in the second tuition, excepting the two last by Dr Duport, which were inserted for the first time in V'-filth edition.
t In the filth edition, the words "in-law" are omitted ; but as they correctly explain the writer's relationship, they are here adopted.
I Some account of thi* person, who was the brother of Walton's first wife, and of hts family, will be found in the Life of Walton, at the commencement of the volume.
For he that views it with judicious looks
Shall find it full of art, baits, lines, and hooks.
The world the river is; both you and I,
And all mankind, are either fish or fry.
If we pretend to reason, first or last,
His baits will tempt us, and his hooks hold fast.
Pleasure or profit, either prose or rhyme,
If not at first, will doubtless take's in time.
Here sits, in secret, blest Theology,
Waited upon by grave Philosophy,
Both natural and moral; History,
Deck'd and adom'd with flowers of Poetry,
The matter and expression striving which
Shall most excel in worth, yet not seem rich.
There is no danger in his baits; that hook
Will prove the safest, that is surest took.
Nor are we caught alone, but, which is best,
We shall be wholesome, and be toothsome drest;
Drest to be fed, not to be fed upon:
And danger of a surfeit here is none.
The solid food of serious contemplation
Is sauced, here, with such harmless recreation,
That an ingenuous and religious mind
Cannot inquire for more than it may find
Ready at once prepared, either t' excite,
Or satisfy, a curious appetite.
More praise is due: for 'tis both positive
And truth, which once was interrogative,
And utter'd by the poet, then, in jest—
'' Et piscatorem piscis amare potest."
Ch. Harvie, Mr. of Arts.*
TO MY DEAR FRIEND, MR IZ. WALTON, IN PRAISE OF
ANGLING, WHICH WE BOTH LOVE.
Down by this smooth stream's wandering side,'
Adom'd and perfumed with the pride
Of Flora's wardrobe, where the shrill
Aerial choir' express their skill,
First, in alternate melody,8
And, then, in chorus all agree.
Whilst * the charm'd fish, as ecstasied
With sounds, to his own throat denied,
• Down by this wand'ring stream's smooth side.—2d edit.
1 Choir of the air.—Ibid. 8 harmony.— Ibid. • Where.—Hid.
• In the second and third editions the initials C. H. only occur; the name printed at length in the yf/M edition for the first time. An account of Harvey will « found in a subsequent note
Scorns his dull element, and springs
r the air, as if his fins were wings.
Tis here that pleasures sweet and high
Prostrate to our embraces lie:
Such as to body, soul, or fame,1
Create no sickness, sin, or shame:
Roses, not fenc'd with pricks, grow here,
No sting to the honey-bag is near:
But, what's perhaps their prejudice,
They difficulty want and price.
An obvious rod, a twist of hair,
With J hook hid in an ' insect, are
Engines of sport,4 would fit' the wish
Of th' Epicure, and 6 fill his dish.
In this clear stream let fall a grub;
And, straight, take up a Dace or Chub.
I' the mud, your worm provokes a snig,*
Which being fast, if it prove big,t
The Gotham folly will be found
Discreet, ere ta'en she 7 must be drown'd.
The Tench, physician of the brook,
In yon8 dead hole expects your hook;
Which having first your pastime been,
Serves then" for meat or medicine.1
Ambush'd behind that root doth stay
A Pike, to catch, and be a prey.
The treacherous quill in this slow stream *
Betrays the hunger of a Bream.8
And at" that nimble ford, no doubt,
Your false fly cheats a speckled 4 Trout.
1 name.—ad edit. * And.—Ibid. 8 some.—Ibid.
♦ Emblems of skill.—Ibid. * feed.— Ibid. « or.— Ibid.
"it —ibid. 8 that.— Ibid. » next.— Ibid.
1 The following lines here occur in the 2d edition, but are omitted in all the* ethers:—
"And there the cunning Carp you may
Beguile with paste; if you'll but stay,
And watch in time, you'll have your wish,
For paste and patience catch this fish."
1 These two lines are omitted in the ad edit. 3 in.—ad edit.
• Snig, a term more generally applied to the small nine-eyed eel, commonly found about the apron of an old weir, or in shallow parts of the river Lee, and forms the amusement of sniggling to youthful Anglers.—Eu. H.
t "If it prove big" alludes to one of the stories told of the Wise Men of Gotham, a facetious penny history much in circulation in the time of Walton. It is there related that the men of Gotham, upon a Good Friday, after due consultation, collected all their vhite herrings, red herrings, sprats, and salt fish, and cast the whole into a pond, in Grderto secure a sufficient store of fish for the next Lent. In due time upon dragging the pond, there was found only a very large eel, and it being suspected the same must, by the size, have devoured the intended stock, it was concluded that such a voracious monster ought to be destroyed, and, as a death-warrant, it was determined that it should he put in another pond, in order that it might be drowned.—Eu. H.