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AUCEPs. Sir, my pardon is easily granted you: I except against nothing that you have said : nevertheless, I must part with you at this park wall, for which I am very sorry; but I assure you, Mr Piscator, I now part with you full of good thoughts, not only of yourself but your recreation. And so, Gentlemen, God keep you both.
· PISCATOR. Well now, Mr Venator, you shall neither want time nor my attention to hear you enlarge your discourse concerning hunting.
VENATOR. Not I, Sir: I remember you said that Angling itself was of great antiquity, and a perfect art, and an art not easily attained to ; and you have so won upon me in your former discourse, that I am very desirous to hear what you can say further concerning those particulars.
PISCATOR. Sir, I did say so : and I doubt not but if you and I did converse together but a few hours, to leave you possessed with the same high and happy thoughts that now possess me of it; (not only of the antiquity of Angling, but that it deserves commendations; and that it is an art, and an art worthy the knowledge and practice of a wise man.)
VENATOR. Pray, Sir, speak of them what you think fit, for we have yet five miles to the Thatched House ; during which walk, I dare promise you, my patience and diligent attention shall not be wanting. And if you shall make that to appear which you have undertaken, first, that it is an art, and an art worth the learning, I shall beg that I may attend you a day or two a-fishing, and that I may become your scholar, and be instructed in the art itself which you so much magnify.
3 PISCATOR. O, Sir, doubt not but that Angling is an art; is it not an art to deceive a Trout with an artificial Fly? a Trout! that is more sharp-sighted than any Hawk you* have named, and
VARIATION. 3 Piscator. Oh, Sir, it is not to be questioned but that it is an art, and an art worth your learning: the question will rather be, whether you be capable of learning it! For he that learns it must not only bring an inquiring, searching, and discerning wit; but he must bring also that patience you talk of, and a love and propensity to the art itself ; but, having once got and practised it, then doubt not but the art will (both for the pleasure and profit of it) prove like to virtue, a reward to itself.
stood on the opposite side of the road leading from Waltham-Cross to Cheshunt: and adjoining was a large building called the Alms-house, supposed to have been built by Lord Burleigh, and appropriated as a residence for some of his pensioners: it had a hall and chapel. This building, with the arms of Cecil in front, was standing till within these three years.-E.
* This is a mistake: it was Anceps, and not Venator, that named the Hawks; and Auceps had before taken his leave of these his companions.-H. The discrepancy does
more watchful and timorous than your high-mettled Merlin is bold ? and yet I doubt not to catch a brace or two to-morrow for a friend's breakfast : doubt not, therefore, Sir, but that Angling is an art, and an art worth your learning. The question is rather, whether you be capable of learning it ? for angling is somewhat like poetry, men are to be born so : I mean, with inclinations to it, though both may be heightened by discourse and practice : 4 but he that hopes to be a good angler, must not only bring an inquiring, searching, observing wit, but he must bring a large measure of hope and patience, and a love and propensity to the art itself; * but having once got and practised it, then doubt not but angling will prove to be so pleasant, that it will prove to be, like virtue, a reward to itself.
5 VENATOR.. Sir, I am now become so full of expectation, that I long much to have you proceed, and in the order that you propose,
PISCATOR. Then first, for the antiquity of Angling, of which I shall not say much, but only this ; some say it is as ancient as Deucalion's flood : others, that Belus, who was the first inventor of godly and virtuous recreations, was the first inventor of Angling : + and some others say, for former times have had their disquisitions about the antiquity of it, that Seth, one of the sons
VARIATIONS. 4 heightened by practice and experience. -Until 5th edit.
5 Viator. Sir, I am now become so full of expectation, that I long much to have you proceed in your discourse : and first, I pray, Sir, let me hear concerning the antiquity of it.
Piscator. Sir, I will preface no longer, but proceed in order as you desire me: and first for the antiquity of Angling, I shall not say much; but only this; some say it is as ancient as Deucalion's flood : and others (which I like better) say that Belus (who was the inventor of godly and virtuous recreations) was the inventor of it.
not occur in any edition before the fifth, because in all the others the passage, “Is it not an art to deceive a trout with an artificial fly? a trout that is more sharp-sighted than any hawk you sr friend has] have named, and more watchful and timorous than your (his] high-met:led Merlin is bold; and yet I doubt not to catch a brace or two 10-morrow for a friend's breakfast. Doubt not, therefore, Sir, that Angling is an art," is omitted ; and Piscator's reply reads thus, “0, Sir, doubt not but that Angling is an art, and an art worth your learning." The objection would be removed by the alterations suggested within brackets.
* Markham, in his Country Contentments, has a whole chapter on the subject of the Angler's Apparel, and inward Qualities; some of which are, “That he be a general scholar, and seen in all the liberal sciences; as a grammarian, to know how to write, or discourse, of his art in true and fitting terms. He should," says he, “have sweetness of speech, to entice others to delight in an exercise so much laudable. He should have strength of argument, to defend and maintain his profession against envy and slander." “Then must he be strong and valiant: neither to be amazed with storms, nor affrighted with thunder: and if he is not temperate, but has a gnawing stomach that will not endure much fasting, but must observe hours; it troubleth the mind and body, and loseth that delight which maketh the pastime only pleasing.”—H.
† Opposite to this passage in the first edition, “ J. Da. Jer. Mar." occur, by which was probably meant John Davors, author of the Secrets of Angling, a poem, from which Walton has given an extract in a subsequent page, and Jervase Markham. The passage
of Adam, taught it to his sons, and that by them it was derived to posterity: others say that he left it engraven on those pillars which he erected, and trusted to preserve the knowledge of the mathematics, music, and the rest of that precious knowledge, and those useful arts, which by God's appointment or allowance, and his noble industry, were thereby preserved from perishing in Noah's flood.
These, Sir, have been the opinions of several men, that have possibly endeavoured to make angling more ancient than is need. ful, or may well be warranted ; but for my part, I shall content myself in telling you that angling is much more ancient than the incarnation of our Saviour ; for in the Prophet Amos * mention is made of fish-hooks ; and in the Book of Job,t which was long before the days of Amos, for that book is said to have been written by Moses, mention is made also of fish-hooks, which must imply anglers in those times. I
But, my worthy friend, as I would rather prove myself a gentleman, by being. learned and humble, valiant and inoffensive, virtuous and communicable, than by any fond ostentation of riches, or, wanting those virtues myself, boast that these were in my ancestors; and yet I grant, that where a noble and ancient descent and such merit meet in any man, it is a double dignification of that person; so if this antiquity of angling, which for my part I have not forced, shall, like an ancient family, be either an honour or an ornament to this virtuous art which I profess to love and practise, I shall be the gladder that I made an accidental mention of the antiquity of it, of which I shall say no more, but proceed to that just commendation which I think it deserves.
VARIATIONS. fi accidental mention of it; and shall proceed to the justification, or rather commendation of it.
Viator. My worthy friend. I am much pleased with your discourse, for that you secm to be so ingenuous, and so modest, as not to stretch arguments into hyperbolical expressions, but such as indeed they will reasonably bear; and, I pray, proceed to the justification, or commendations of Angling, which I also long to hear from you.
Piscator. Sir, I shall proceed ; and my next discourse shall be rather a commendation than a justification of Angling: for, in my judgment, if it deserves to be commended, it is more than justified, for some practices that may be justified, deserve no commendation: yet there are none that deserve commendation but may be justified.
6 accidental mention of it; and so I pass from the antiquity of Angling to the commendation of it.-2d edit. in the Secrets of Angling to which Walton alludes is in the division of the poem entitled “ The Author of Angling. Poetical Fictions."
“Then did Deucalion first the art invent.” The passage referred to in Markham, whose opinion Walton says, in the first edition, he "likes better," is in the " Pleasures of Princes, or Good Men's Recreations, containing a Discourse of the General Art of Fishing with an Augle or otherwise," 4to, 1614, P. 3.-T. * Chap. iv. 2.
Chap. Ixi. 1, 2. 1 See also Isaiah xix. 8.
1 . And for that, I shall tell you, that in ancient times a debate hath risen, and it remains yet unresolved, whether the happiness of man in this world doth consist more in contemplation or action ? * Concerning which, some have endeavoured to maintain their opinion of the first; by saying that the nearer we mortals come to God by way of imitation, the more happy we are. And they say that God enjoys himself only by a contemplation of his own infiniteness, eternity, power, and goodness, and the like. And upon this ground, many cloisteral men of great learning, and devotion, prefer contemplation before action. And many of the Fathers seem to approve this opinion, as may appear in their commentaries upon the words of our Saviour to Martha.t
And on the contrary, there want not men of equal authority and credit, that prefer action to be the more excellent; as, namely, experiments in physic, and the application of it, both for the ease and prolongation of man's life ; by which each man is enabled to act and do good to others, either to serve his country, or do good to particular persons : and they say also, that action is doctrinal, and teaches both art and virtue, and is a maintainer of human society; and for these, and other like reasons, to be preferred before contemplation.
Concerning which two opinions I shall forbear to add a third, by declaring my own; and rest myself contented in telling you, my very worthy friend, that both these meet together, and do most properly belong to the most honest, ingenuous, quiet, and harmless art of angling.)
8 And first, I shall tell you what some have observed, and I have found it to be a real truth, that the very sitting by the river's side is not only the quietest and fittest place for contemplation, but will invite an angler to it: and this seems to be maintained by the learned Peter du Moulin, I who, in his discourse of the fulfilling of Prophecies, observes, that when God intended to reveal any future events or high notions to his prophets, he then carried them either to the deserts or the sea-shore, that having so separated them from amidst the press of people and business, and the cares of the world, he might settle their mind in a quiet repose, and there make them fit for revelation.
VARIATIONS. 7 And now having said thus much by way of preparation, I am next to tell you that
lebate hath risen (and it is not yet resolved) whether contemplation or action be the chiefest thing wherein the happiness of a man doth most consist in ihis world? Concerning which, &c.
8 And first I shall tell you what some have observed, and I have found in myself, that the very sitting by the river's side is not only the fittest place for, but will invite the anglers to contemplation : that it is the fittest place seems to be witnessed by the children of Israel, who having banished, &c.
* This is a question which many persons of wit, especially among the Italian writers, have discussed; a disquisition in the judgment of Lord Clarendon about as profitable as whether a long journey is best undertaken on a black or a bay horse. See Lord Clarendon's Tracts, p. 167.-H.
† Luke x. 41, 42. I Dr Peter du Moulin, Prebendary of Canterbury, and author of several pieces in the
And this seems also to be intimated by the children of Israel, * who having in a sad condition banished all mirth and music from their pensive hearts, and having hung up their then mute harps upon the willow-trees growing by the rivers of Babylon, sat down upon those banks, bemoaning the ruins of Sion, and contemplating their own sad condition.
And an ingenious Spaniard † says that “rivers and the inhabitants of the watery element were made for wise men to contemplate, and fools to pass by without consideration.” And though I will not rank myself in the number of the first, yet give me leave to free myself from the last, by offering to you a short contemplation, first of rivers, and then of fish; concerning which I doubt not but to give you many observations that will appear very considerable : I am sure they have appeared so to me, and made many an hour pass away more pleasantly, as I have sat quietly on a flowery bank by a calm river, and contemplated what I shall now relate to you.
'And first concerning rivers ; there be so many wonders
VARIATION. 9 Concerning rivers, there be divers wonders reported of them by authors of such credit, that we need not deny them an historical faith. As of a river in Epirus, that puts out any lighted torch, and kindles any torch that was not lighted. Of the river, Selarus, that in a few hours turns a rod or a wand into stone, and our Camden mentions the like wonder in England. That there is a river in Arabia, of which all the sheep that drink thereof have their wool turned into a vermilion colour. And one of no less credit than Aristotle, tells us of a merry river, the river Elusina, that dances at the noise of music, that with music it bubbles, dances, and grows sandy, but returns to a wonted calmness and clearness when the music ceases. And lastly, for I would not tire your patience, Josephus, that learned Jew, tells us of a river in Judea, and runs and moves swiftly all the six days of the week, and stands still and rests upon their Sabbathday.
Romish controversy.--H. Du Moulin's Treatise, entitled “The Accomplishment of the Prophecies," was translated from the French, by J. Heath, and printed in octavo, at Oxford, in 1613. The passage which Walton quotes, or rather applies to his purpose, is in the Preface to the Reader. “For as God intending to reveale future events to his prophets, withdrew them aside, and carried them either to the desert, or els to the seashore, that so having pluckt them from amidst the presse, he might settle their minds in a quiet repose ; so thinke I, that to dive into their prophecies a man need be free from all cares, and to partake of their rest, that he may partake of the cleernesse of their spirit."-E. * Psalm cxxxvii.
It is said by Moses Browne, that the person here meant was John Valdesso, and that the passage in the text occurs in his Considerations, but upon a careful perusal of that book for the purpose, no such sentiment has been found.-H.