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IZAAK WALTON AND CHARLES COTTON
EXTENSIvELY EMBELLISHED WITH
ENGRAVINGS ON COPPER AND WOOD
FROM ORIGINAL PAINTINGS AND DRAWINGS
AN INTRODUCTORY ESSAY
THE LINN^AN ARRANGEMENT OF THE VARIOUS
And this our life, exempt from public haunt,
Finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks.
Sermons in stones, and good in every thing.
If there were a single circumstance by which the fame of those "honourable men," the effigies of whom now face the reader, could possibly be enhanced, it was that of having for their biographer one, who, with the soundest judgment, possessed a sweetness of disposition ever inclining to the bright side of things;—a veracity not to be questioned, and a felicity of expression peculiarly his own: thus gifted, like the skilful artist, at once both flattering and faithful, he brought to the task of delineation, that delicacy due to family feeling, combined with the justice demanded by strict impartiality: the existence, and the application therefore, of such rare qualities, are equally the subject of exultation.
On the other hand, that haak Walton should have been deemed by his contemporaries, the fittest of all persons to perform so important a task, were sufficient by reflection alone, to ensure to himself an imperishable name; the pictorial allusion, there
fore, at the head of this Introductory Essay, will probably be deemed particularly appropriate :—it contains the Portraits of Dr. .John Donne, Mr. George Herbert, Bishop Sanderson, Mr. Richard Hooker, and Sir Henry Wotton, whose lives, at different times, were written by Walton.
The praise bestowed on the Life of Dr. Donne, by Dr. King, afterwards Bishop of Winchester, in a letter to Walton himself, is equally applicable to the rest:—" I am glad that the general demonstration of his worth was so fairly preserved, and represented to the world by your pen, in the history of his life; indeed so well, that, beside others, the best critic of our later time, Mr. John Hales of Eaton, affirmed to me he had not seen a life, written with more advantage to the subject, or reputation to the writer than that of Dr. Donne."
The posthumous fame of these lives so well accords with this contemporary applause, that they are to be found in almost every respectable library: yet it were unpardonable on the occasion of this attempt to give additional popularity to our author's inimitable work of the Complete A wjler* not to remind the reader that he has other claims to literary reputation,
* The attempt has been so eminently successful, that many persons of taste, and even authors of repute, have acknowledged that they owe their first acquaintance with Izaak Walton to the highly-favoured reception of this edition. The Publisher now feels himself imperatively called upon to bring forward these delightful pieces of Biography, not doubting but that their fame ami usefulness will be equally extended, by appearing in a volume forming a suitable Companion to the present work.