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The Compleat Angler
The First Part
BY IZAAK WALTON
Being a Discourse of
FISH & FISHING
Not unworthy the Perusal of
Chapter 1. A CONFERENCE BETWIXT AN ANGLER, A HUNTER, AND A FALCONER, EACH COMMENDING HIS RECREATION
PISCATOR, VENATOR, AUCEPS
PISCATOR. You are well overtaken, Gentlemen: a good morning to you both: I have stretched my legs up Tottenham Hill to overtake you, hoping your business may occasion you towards Ware, whither I am going this fine, fresh May morning.
VENATOR. Sir, I, for my part, shall almost answer your hopes; for my purpose is to drink my morning's draught at the Thatched House in Hoddesden; and I think not to rest till I come thither, where I have appointed a friend or two to meet me: but for this gentleman that you see with me, I know not how far he intends his journey; he came so lately into my company, that I have scarce had time to ask him the question.
AUCEPS. Sir, I shall, by your favor, bear you company as far as Theobald's; and there leave you, for then I turn up to a friend's house who mews a hawk for me, which I now long to see.
VEN. Sir, we are all so happy as to have a fine, fresh, cool morn ing, and I hope we shall each be the happier in the others' company. And, Gentlemen, that I may not lose yours, I shall either abate or amend my pace to enjoy it; knowing that, as the Italians say, "Good company in a journey makes the way to seem the shorter."
AUC. It may do so, Sir, with the help of good discourse, which, methinks, we may promise from you that both look and speak so cheerfully; and, for my part, I promise you as an invitation to it, that I will be as free and open-hearted as discretion will allow me to be with strangers.
VEN. And, Sir, I promise the like.
PISC. I am right glad to hear your answers: and in confidence you speak the truth, I shall put on a boldness to ask you, Sir, whether business or pleasure caused you to be so early up, and walk so fast; for this other gentleman hath declared he is going to see a hawk, that a friend mews for him.
VEN. Sir, mine is a mixture of both, a little business and more pleasure: for I intend this day to do all my business, and then be stow another day or two in hunting the otter, which a friend, that I go to meet, tells me is much pleasanter than any other chase whatsoever; howsoever, I mean to try it; for to-morrow morning we shall meet a pack of otter-dogs of noble Mr. Sadler's, upon Amwell Hill, who will be there so early, that they intend to pre vent the sun rising.
PISC. Sir, my fortune has answered my desires; and my purpose is to bestow a day or two in helping to destroy some of those villainous vermin; for I hate them perfectly, because they love fish so well, or rather, because they destroy so much; indeed, so much, that, in my judgment, all men that keep otter-dogs ought to have pensions from the King to encourage them to destroy the very breed of those base otters, they do so much mischief.
VEN. But what say you to the foxes of the nation? Would not you as willingly have them destroyed? for doubtless they do as much mischief as otters do.
PISC. O Sir, if they do, it is not so much to me and my fraternity as those base vermin the otters do.
AUC. Why, Sir, I pray, of what fraternity are you, that you are so angry with the poor otters?
PISC. I am, Sir, a Brother of the Angle, and therefore an enemy to the otter: for you are to note that we Anglers all love one another, and therefore do I hate the otter, both for my own and their sakes who are of my brotherhood.
VEN. And I am a lover of hounds; I have followed many a pack of dogs many a mile, and heard many merry huntsmen make sport and scoff at Anglers.
AUC. And I profess myself a Falconer, and have heard many grave, serious men pity them, 'tis such a heavy, contemptible, dull recreation.
PISC. you know, Gentlemen, 'tis an easy thing to scoff at any art or recreation: a little wit, mixed with ill-nature, confidence, and malice, will do it; but though they often venture boldly, yet they are often caught, even in their own trap, according to that of Lucian, the father of the family of scoffers.
Lucian, well skilled in scoffing, this hath writ:
Friend, that's your folly which you think your wit:
This you vent oft, void both of wit and fear,
Meaning another, when yourself you jeer.
If to this you add what Solomon says of scoffers, that "they are an abomination to mankind" (Prov. xxiv. 9), let him that thinks fit scoff on, and he a scoffer still; but I account them enemies to me, and to all that love virtue and Angling.
And for you that have heard many grave, serious men pity Anglers, let me tell you, Sir, there be many men that are by others taken to be serious and grave men, which we contemn and pity. Men that are taken to be grave, because nature hath made them of a sour complexion, money-getting men, — men that spend all their time, first in getting, and next in anxious care to keep it; men that are condemned to be rich, and then always busy or discontented: for these poor-rich-men, we Anglers pity them perfectly, and stand in no need to borrow their thoughts to think ourselves so happy. No, no, Sir, we enjoy a contentedness above the reach of such dispositions, and as the learned and ingenious Montaigne says like himself freely, "When my cat and I entertain each other with mutual apish tricks, as playing with a garter, who knows but that I make my cat more sport than she makes me? Shall I conclude her to be simple, that has her time to begin or refuse to play as freely as I myself have? Nay, who knows but that it is a defect of my not understanding her language (for doubtless cats talk and reason with one another) that we agree no better? And who knows but that she pities me for being no wiser than to play with her, and laughs and censures my folly for making sport for her, when we two play together?"
Thus freely speaks Montaigne concerning cats, and I hope I may take as great a liberty to blame any man, and laugh at him too, let him be never so grave, that hath not heard what Anglers can say. in the justification of their art and recreation; which I may again tell you is so full of pleasure, that we need not borrow their thoughts to think ourselves happy.
VEN. Sir, you have almost amazed me: for though I am no scoffer, yet I have, I pray let me speak it without offence, always looked upon Anglers as more patient and more simple men than I fear I shall find you to be.
PISC. Sir, I hope you will not judge my earnestness to be impatience: and for my simplicity, if by that you mean a harmlessness, or that simplicity which was usually found in the primitive Christians, who were, as most Anglers are, quiet men and followers of peace, — men that were so simply-wise as not to sell their consciences to buy riches, and with them vexation and a fear to die; if you mean such simple men as lived in those times when there were fewer lawyers, when men might have had a lordship safely conveyed to them in a piece of parchment no bigger than your hand, though several sheets will not do it safely in this wiser age, — I say, Sir, if you take us Anglers to be such simple men as I have spoken of, then myself and those of my profession will be glad to be so understood: but if by simplicity you meant to express a general defect in those that profess and practice the excellent art of Angling, I hope in time to disabuse you, and make the contrary appear so evidently, that, if you will but have patience to hear me, I shall remove all the anticipations that discourse, or time, or prejudice, have possessed you with against that laudable and ancient art; for I know it is worthy the knowledge and practice of a wise man.
But, Gentlemen, though I be able to do this, I am not so unmannerly as to engross all the discourse to myself: and, therefore, you two having declared yourselves, the one to be a lover of Hawks, the other of Hounds, I shall be most glad to hear what you can say in the commendation of that recreation which each of you love and practise; and having heard what you can say, I shall be glad to exercise your attention with what I can say concerning my own recreation and art of Angling, and by this means we shall make the way to seem the shorter: and if you like my motion, I would have Mr. Falconer to begin.
AUC. Your motion is consented to with all my heart; and, to testify it, I will begin as you have desired me.
And first for the element that I use to trade in, which is the Air, an element of more worth than weight, an element that doubtless exceeds both the earth and water; for though I sometimes deal in both, yet the air is most properly mine, — I and my Hawks use that most, and it yields us most recreation. It stops not the high soaring of my noble, generous Falcon: in it she ascends to such an height, as the dull eyes of beasts and fish are not able to reach to; their bodies are too gross for such high elevations: in the air my troops of Hawks soar up on high, and when they are lost in the sight of men, then they attend upon and converse with the Gods; therefore I think my Eagle is so justly styled Jove's servant in ordinary: and that very Falcon, that I am now going to see, deserves no meaner a title, for she usually in her flight endangers herself, like the son of Dædalus, to have her wings scorched by the sun's heat, she flies so near it, but her mettle makes her careless of danger; for she then heeds nothing, but makes her nimble pinions cut the fluid air, and so makes her high way over the steepest mountains and deepest rivers, and in her glorious career looks with contempt upon those high steeples and magnificent palaces which we adore and wonder at; from which height I can make her to descend by a word from my mouth, which she both knows and obeys, to accept of meat from my hand, to own me for her master, to go home with me, and be willing the next day to afford me the like recreation.
And more: this element of air which I profess to trade in, the worth of it is such, and it is of such necessity, that no creature whatsoever, not only those numerous creatures that feed on the face of the earth, but those various creatures that have their dwell ing within the waters, — every creature that hath life in its nostrils stands in need of my element. The waters cannot preserve the fish without air, witness the not breaking of ice in an extreme frost: the reason is, for that if the inspiring and expiring organ of any animal be stopped, it suddenly yields to nature, and dies. Thus necessary, is air to the existence both of fish and beasts, nay, even to a man himself; that air, or breath, or breath of life with which God at first inspired mankind (Gen. ii. 7), he, if he wants it, dies presently, becomes a sad object to all that loved and beheld him, and in an instant turns to putrefaction.
Nay, more, the very birds of the air, those that be not Hawks, are both so many and so useful and pleasant to mankind, that I must not let them pass without some observations: they both feed and refresh him; feed him with their choice bodies, and refresh him with their heavenly voices. I will not undertake to mention the several kinds of fowl by which this is done; and his curious palate pleased by day, and which with their very excrements afford him a soft lodging at night. These I will pass by, but not those little nimble musicians of the air, that warble forth their curious ditties, with which Nature hath furnished them to the shame of Art.
As first the Lark, when she means to rejoice, to cheer herself and those that hear her, she then quits the earth and sings as she ascends higher into the air; and, having ended her heavenly employment, grows then mute and sad to think she must descend to the dull earth, which she would not touch but for necessity.
How do the Blackbird and Thrassel with their melodious voices bid welcome to the cheerful spring, and in their fixed mouths warble forth such ditties as no art or instrument can reach to!
Nay, the smaller birds also do the like in their particular seasons, as namely the Laverock, the Titlark, the little Linnet, and the honest Robin, that loves mankind both alive and dead.
But the Nightingale, another of my airy creatures, breathes such sweet loud music out of her little instrumental throat, that it might make mankind to think miracles are not ceased. He that at midnight, when the very laborer sleeps securely, should hear, as I have very often, the clear airs, the sweet descants, the natural rising and falling, the doubling and redoubling of her voice, might well be lifted above earth, and say, "Lord, what music hast thou pro vided for the saints in heaven. when thou affordest bad men such music on earth!"
And this makes me the less to wonder at the many aviaries in Italy, or at the great charge of Varro his aviary, the ruins of which are yet to be seen in Rome, and is still so famous there, that it is reckoned for one of those notables which men of foreign nations either record, or lay up in their memories when they return from travel.
This for the birds of pleasure, of which very much more might be said. My next shall be of birds of political use; I think 'tis not to be doubted that Swallows have been taught to carry letters be tween two armies. But 'tis certain that, when the Turks besieged Malta or Rhodes, I now remember not which 'twas, Pigeons are then related to carry and recarry letters. And Mr. G. Sandys, in his Travels, relates it to be done betwixt Aleppo and Babylon. But if that be disbelieved, 'tis not to be doubted that the Dove was sent out of the ark by Noah, to give him notice of land, when to him all appeared to be sea; and the Dove proved a faithful and comfortable messenger. And for the sacrifices of the Law, a pair of Turtle-doves or young Pigeons were as well accepted as costly bulls and rams. And when God would feed the Prophet Elijah (I Kings xvii. 4-6) after a kind of miraculous manner, he did it by Ravens, who brought him meat morning and evening. Lastly, the Holy Ghost, when he descended visibly upon our Saviour, did it by assuming the shape of a Dove. And, to conclude this part of my discourse, pray remember these wonders were done by birds of the air, the element in which they and I take so much pleasure.
There is also a little contemptible winged creature, an inhabitant of my aerial element, namely the laborious Bee, of whose prudence, policy, and regular government of their own common wealth I might say much, as also of their several kinds, and how useful their honey and wax are both for meat and medicines to mankind; but I will leave them to their sweet labor, without the least disturbance, believing them to be all very busy at this very time amongst the herbs and flowers that we see Nature puts forth this May morning.
And now to return to my Hawks, from whom I have made too long a digression; you are to note, that they are usually distinguished into two kinds; namely, the Long-winged and the Short-winged Hawk; of the first kind, there be chiefly in use amongst us in this nation,
The Gerfalcon and Jerkin,
The Falcon and Tassel-gentle,
The Laner and Laneret,
The Bockerel and Bockeret,
The Saker and Sacaret,
The Merlin and Jack Merlin,
The Hobby and Jack;
There is the Stelletto of Spain,
The Blood-red Rook from Turkey,
The Waskite from Virginia.
And there is of Short-winged Hawks,
The Eagle and Iron,
The Goshawk and Tarcel,
The Sparhawk and Musket,
The French Pye of two sorts.
These are reckoned Hawks of note and worth, but we have also of an inferior rank,
The Stanyel, the Ringtail,
The Raven, the Buzzard,
The Forked Kite, the Bald Buzzard,
The Hen-driver, and others that I forbear to name.
Gentlemen, if I should enlarge my discourse to the observation of the Eires, the Brancher, the Ramish Hawk, the Haggard, and the two sorts of Lentners, and then treat of their several ayries, their mewings, rare order of casting, and the renovation of their feathers; their reclaiming, dieting, and then come to their rare stories of practice; — I say, if I should enter into these, and many other observations that I could make, it would be much, very much pleasure to me: but lest I should break the rules of civility with you, by taking up more than the proportion of time allotted to me, I will here break off, and entreat you, Mr. Venator, to say what you are able in the commendation of Hunting, to which you are so much affected; and if time will serve, I will beg your favor for a further enlargement of some of those several heads of which I have spoken. But no more at present.
VEN. Well, Sir, and I will now take my turn, and will first begin with a commendation of the Earth, as you have done most excellently of the Air; the earth being that element upon which I drive my pleasant, wholesome, hungry trade. The earth is a solid, settled element; an element most universally beneficial both to man and beast: to men who have their several recreations upon it, as horse- races, hunting, sweet smells, pleasant walks: the earth feeds man, and all those several beasts that both feed him and afford him recreation. What pleasure doth man take in hunting the stately Stag, the generous Buck, the Wild-Boar, the cunning Otter, the crafty Fox, and the fearful Hare! And if I may descend to a lower game, what pleasure is it sometimes with gins to betray the very vermin of the earth! as namely, the Fitchet, the Fulimart, the Ferret, the Polecat, the Mouldwarp, and the like creatures that live upon the face and within the bowels of the earth! How doth the earth bring forth herbs, flowers, and fruits, both for physic and the pleasure of mankind! and above all, to me at least, the fruitful vine, of which when I drink moderately it clears my brain, cheers my heart, and sharpens my wit. How could Cleopatra have feasted Mark Antony with eight wild-boars roasted whole at one supper, and other meat suitable, if the earth had not been a bountiful mother? But to pass by the mighty Elephant, which the earth breeds and nourisheth, and descend to the least of creatures, how doth the earth afford us a doctrinal example in the little Pismire, who in the summer provides and lays up her winter provision, and teaches man to do the like! The earth feeds and carries those horses that carry us. If I would be prodigal of my time and your patience, what might not I say in commendations of the earth? that puts limits to the proud and raging sea, and by that means preserves both man and beast that it destroys them not, as we see it daily doth those that venture upon the sea, and are there shipwrecked, drowned, and left to feed haddocks; when we that are so wise as to keep ourselves on earth, walk, and talk, and live, and eat, and drink, and go a hunting: of which recreation I will say a little, and then leave Mr. Piscator to the commendation of Angling.
Hunting is a game for Princes and noble persons; it hath been highly prized in all ages; it was one of the qualifications that Xenophon bestowed on his Cyrus, that he was a hunter of wild beasts. Hunting trains up the younger nobility to the use of manly exercises in their riper age. What more manly exercise than hunting the Wild-Boar, the Stag, the Buck, the Fox, or the Hare! How doth it preserve health, and increase strength and activity!
And for the dogs that we use, who can commend their excellency to that height which they deserve? How perfect is the Hound at smelling, who never leaves or forsakes his first scent, but follows it through so many changes and varieties of other scents, even over and in the water, and into the earth! What music doth a pack of dogs then make to any man, whose heart and ears are so happy as to be set to the tune of such instruments! How will a right Greyhound fix his eye on the best Buck in a herd, single him out, and follow him, and him only, through a whole herd of rascal game, and still know and then kill him! For my Hounds, I know the language of them, and they know the language and meaning of one another, as perfectly as we know the voices of those with whom we discourse daily.
I might enlarge myself in the commendation of Hunting, and of the noble Hound especially, as also of the docibleness of dogs in general; and I might make many observations of land-creatures, that for composition, order, figure, and constitution approach nearest to the completeness and understanding of man; especially of those creatures which Moses in the Law permitted to the Jews (Lev. ix. 2-8), which have cloven hoofs and chew the cud, which I shall forbear to name, because I will not be so uncivil to Mr. Piscator as not to allow him a time for the commendation of Angling, which he calls an Art; but doubtless 'tis an easy one: and, Mr. Auceps, I doubt we shall hear a watery discourse of it, but I hope 'twill not be a long one.
AUC. And I hope so too, though I fear it will.
PISC. Gentlemen, let not prejudice prepossess you. I confess my discourse is like to prove suitable to my recreation, calm and quiet; we seldom take the name of God into our mouths, but it is either to praise him or pray to him: if others use it vainly in the midst of their recreations, so vainly as if they meant to conjure, I must tell you it is neither our fault nor our custom; we protest against it. But pray remember, I accuse nobody; for as I would not make "a watery discourse," so I would not put too much vinegar into it; nor would I raise the reputation of my own art by the diminution or ruin of another's. And so much for the prologue to what I mean to say.
And now for the Water, the element that I trade in. The Water is the eldest daughter of the creation, the element upon which the Spirit of God did first move (Gen. i, 2), the element which God commanded to bring forth living creatures abundantly; and with out which, those that inhabit the land, even all creatures that have breath in their nostrils, must suddenly return to putrefaction. Moses, the great law-giver and chief philosopher, skilled in all the learning of the Egyptians, who was called the friend of God, and knew the mind of the Almighty, names this element the first in the creation; this is the element upon which the Spirit of God did first move, and is the chief ingredient in the creation: many philosophers have made it to comprehend all the other elements, and most allow it the chiefest in the mixtion of all living creatures.
There be that profess to believe that all bodies are made of water, and may be reduced back again to water only; they endeavor to demonstrate it thus: —
Take a willow, or any like speedy-growing plant, newly rooted in a box or barrel full of earth, weigh them all together exactly when the trees begin to grow, and then weigh all together after the tree is increased from its first rooting to weigh an hundred pound weight more than when it was first rooted and weighed; and you shall find this augment of the tree to be without the diminution of one drachm weight of the earth. Hence they infer this increase of wood to be from water of rain, or from dew, and not to be from any other element. And they affirm, they can reduce this wood back again to water; and they affirm, also, the same may be done in any animal or vegetable. And this I take to be a fair testimony of the excellency of my element of Water.
The Water is more productive than the earth. Nay, the earth hath no fruitfulness without showers or dews; for all the herbs and flowers and fruits are produced and thrive by the water; and the very minerals are fed by streams that run underground, whose natural course carries them to the tops of many high mountains, as we see by several springs breaking forth on the tops of the highest hills; and this is also witnessed by the daily trial and testimony of several miners.
Nay, the increase of those creatures that are bred and fed in the water are not only more and more miraculous, but more advantageous to man, not only for the lengthening of his life, but for the preventing of sickness; for 'tis observed by the most learned physicians, that the casting off of Lent and other fish days, — which hath not only given the lie to so many learned, pious, wise founders of colleges, for which we should be ashamed, — hath doubtless been the chief cause of those many putrid, shaking, intermitting agues, unto which this nation of ours is now more subject than those wiser countries that feed on herbs, salads, and plenty of fish; of which it is observed in story, that the greatest part of the world now do. And it may be fit to remember that Moses (Lev. xi. 9, Deut. xiv. 9) appointed fish to be the chief diet for the best com monwealth that ever yet was.
And it is observable, not only that there are fish, — as namely, the Whale, three times as big as the mighty Elephant, that is so fierce in battle, — but that the mightiest feasts have been of fish. The Romans in the height of their glory have made fish the mistress of all their entertainments; they have had music to usher in their Sturgeons, Lampreys, and Mullets, which they would purchase at rates rather to be wondered at than believed. He that shall view the writings of Macrobius, or Varro, may be confirmed and informed of this, and of the incredible value of their fish and fish-ponds.
But, Gentlemen, I have almost lost myself, which I confess I may easily do in this philosophical discourse; I met with most of it very lately, and, I hope, happily, in a conference with a most learned physician, Dr. Wharton, a dear friend, that loves both me and my art of Angling. But however, I will wade no deeper in these mysterious arguments, but pass to such observations as I can manage with more pleasure, and less fear of running into error. But I must not yet forsake the waters, by whose help we have so many known advantages.
And first, to pass by the miraculous cures of our known baths, how advantageous is the sea for our daily traffic, without which we could not now subsist! How does it not only furnish us with food and physic for the bodies, but with such observations for the mind as ingenious persons would not want!
How ignorant had we been of the beauty of Florence, of the monuments, urns, and rarities that yet remain in and near unto old and new Rome, so many as it is said will take up a year's time to view, and afford to each of them but a convenient consideration; and therefore it is not to be wondered at, that so learned and devout a father as St. Jerome, after his wish to have seen Christ in the flesh, and to have heard St. Paul preach, makes his third wish to have seen Rome in her glory; and that glory is not yet all lost, for what pleasure is it to see the monuments of Livy, the choicest of the historians; of Tully, the best of orators; and to see the bay- trees that now grow out of the very tomb of Virgil! These, to any that love learning, must be pleasing. But what pleasure is it to a devout Christian to see there the humble house in which St. Paul was content to dwell, and to view the many rich statues that are there made in honor of his memory! Nay, to see the very place in which St. Peter and he lie buried together! These are in and near to Rome. And how much more doth it please the pious curiosity of a Christian, to see that place on which the blessed Saviour of the world was pleased to humble himself, and to take our nature upon him, and to converse with men, — to see Mount Sion, Jerusalem, and the very Sepulchre of our Lord Jesus! How may it beget and heighten the zeal of a Christian, to see the devotions that are daily paid to him at that place! Gentlemen, lest I forget myself I will stop here, and remember you, that, but for my element of Water, the inhabitants of this poor island must remain ignorant that such things ever were, or that any of them have yet a being.
Gentlemen, I might both enlarge and lose myself in such like arguments; I might tell you that Almighty God is said to have spoken to a fish, but never to a beast; that he hath made a Whale a ship to carry and set his prophet Jonah safe on the appointed shore. Of these I might speak, but I must in manners break off, for I see Theobald's house. I cry you mercy for being so long, and thank you for your patience.
AUC. Sir, my pardon is easily granted you; I except against noth ing 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 your self, but your recreation. And so, Gentlemen, God keep you both!
PISC. Well, now, Mr. Venator, you shall neither want time nor my attention to hear you enlarge your discourse concerning Hunting.
VEN. 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.
PISC. Sir, I did say so, and I doubt not but if you and I did con verse 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.
VEN. 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 want ing. And if you shall make that to appear which you have under taken; 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.
PISC. 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 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 break fast: doubt not therefore, Sir, but that Angling is an art, and an art worth your learning: the question is rather, whether you be cap able 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; hut 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 pleas ant, that it will prove to be like virtue, a reward to itself.
VEN. Sir, I am now become so full of expectation, that I long much to have you proceed; and in the order that you propose.
PISC. 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 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 endeavored to make Angling more ancient than is needful, 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, which was long before the days of Amos, for that book is said to be writ by Moses, mention is made also of fish-hooks, which must imply Anglers in those times.
But, my worthy friend, as I would rather prove myself a gentle man 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 merits 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 honor 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.
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 endeavored 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 (Luke x. 41, 42).
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 humane 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.
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 he maintained by the learned Peter Du Moulin, 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.
And this seems also to be intimated by the children of Israel (Psal. 137), 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 reported and written of them, and of the several creatures that be bred and live in them, and those by authors of so good credit, that we need not to deny them an historical faith.
As namely of a river in Epirus, that puts out any lighted torch, and kindles any torch that was not lighted. Some waters being drank cause madness, some drunkenness, and some laughter to death. The river Selarus in a few hours turns a rod or wand to stone; and our Camden mentions the like in England, and the like in Lochmere in Ireland. There is also a river in Arabia, of which all the sheep that drink thereof have their wool turned into a vermilion color. And one of no less credit than Aristotle tells us of a merry river, the river Elusina, that dances at the noise of music, for with music it bubbles, dances, and grows sandy, and so continues till the music ceases, but then it presently returns to its wonted calmness and clearness. And Camden tells us of a well near to Kirby in Westmoreland, that ebbs and flows several times every day; and he tells us of a river in Surrey, it is called Mole, that after it has run several miles, being opposed by hills, finds or makes itself a way under ground, and breaks out again so far off, that the in habitants thereabouts boast, as the Spaniards do of their river Anus, that they feed divers flocks of sheep upon a bridge. And lastly, for I would not tire your patience, one of no less authority than Josephus, that learned Jew, tells us of a river in Judæa that runs swiftly all the six days of the week, and stands still and rests all their Sabbath.
But I will lay aside my discourse of rivers, and tell you some things of the monsters, or fish, call them what you will, that they breed and feed in them. Pliny the philosopher says, in the third chapter of his ninth book, that in the Indian Sea the fish called the Balæna, or Whirlpool, is so long and broad as to take up more in length and breadth than two acres of ground, and of other fish of two hundred cubits long; and that in the river Ganges, there be Eels of thirty foot long. He says there, that these monsters appear in that sea only when the tempestuous winds oppose the torrents of waters falling from the rocks into it, and so turning what lay at the bottom to be seen on the water's top. And he says, that the people of Cadara, an island near this place, make the timber for their houses of those fish-bones. He there tells us, that there are sometimes a thousand of these great Eels found wrapped or inter woven together, He tells us there, that it appears that Dolphins love music, and will come, when called for, by some men or boys, that know and use to feed them, and that they can swim as swift as an arrow can be shot out of a bow; and much of this is spoken concerning the Dolphin, and other fish, as may be found also in learned Dr. Casaubon's discourse "Of Credulity and Incredulity," printed by him about the year 1670.
I know we islanders are averse to the belief of these wonders; but there be so many strange creatures to be now seen, many collected by John Tradescant, and others added by my friend Elias Ashmole, Esq., who now keeps them carefully and methodically at his house near to Lambeth near London, as may get some belief of some of the other wonders I mentioned. I will tell you some of the wonders that you may now see, and not till then believe, unless you think fit.
Yon may there see the Hog-fish, the Dog-fish, the Dolphin, the Coney-fish, the Parrot-fish, the Shark, the Poison-fish, Sword-fish, and not only other incredible fish, but you may there see the Salamander, several sorts of Barnacles, of Solan geese, the Bird of Paradise, such sorts of Snakes, and such bird's nests, and of so various forms, and so wonderfully made, as may beget wonder and amusement in any beholder: and so many hundred of other rarities in that collection, as will make the other wonders I spake of the less incredible; for you may note, that the waters are Nature's storehouse, in which she locks up her wonders.
But, Sir, lest this discourse may seem tedious, I shall give it a sweet conclusion out of that holy poet, Mr. George Herbert, his divine "Contemplation on God's Providence."
Lord! who hath praise enough? Nay, who hath any?
None can express thy works but he that knows them;
And none can know thy works they are so many
And so complete, but only he that owes them!
We all acknowledge both thy power and love
To be exact, transcendent, and divine;
Who dost so strongly and so sweetly move,
Whilst all things have their end, yet none but thine.
Wherefore, most sacred Spirit, I here present
For me, and all my fellows, praise to thee;
And just it is that I should pay the rent,
Because the benefit accrues to me.
And as concerning fish in that Psalm (Psal. civ.), wherein for height of poetry and wonders the prophet David seems even to exceed himself, how doth he there express himself in choice metaphors, even to the amazement of a contemplative reader, concern ing the sea, the rivers, and the fish therein contained! And the great naturalist, Pliny, says, "That Nature's great and wonderful power is more demonstrated in the sea than on the land." And this may appear by the numerous and various creatures inhabiting both in and about that element; as to the readers of Gesner, Rondeletius, Pliny, Ausonius, Aristotle, and others, may be demonstrated. But I will sweeten this discourse also out of a contemplation in divine Du Bartas, who says: —
God quickened in the sea and in the rivers
So many fishes of so many features,
That in the waters we may see all creatures,
Ev'n all that on the earth are to be found,
As if the world were in deep waters drowned.
For Seas, as well as Skies, have Sun, Moon, Stars;
As well as Air — Swallows, Rooks, and Stares;
As well as Earth — Vines, Roses, Nettles, Melons,
Mushrooms, Pinks, Gilliflowers, and many millions
Of other plants, more rare, more strange than these,
As very fishes living in the seas:
As also Rams, Calves, Horses, Hares, and Hogs,
Wolves, Urchins, Lions, Elephants, and Dogs;
Yea, Men and Maids, and, which I most admire,
The mitred Bishop, and the cowled Friar:
Of which examples but a few years since
Were shown the Norway and Polonian Prince.
These seem to be wonders, but have had so many confirmations from men of learning and credit, that you need not doubt them: nor are the number nor the various shapes of fishes more strange or more fit for contemplation, than their different natures, inclinations, and actions; concerning which I shall beg your patient ear a little longer.
The Cuttle-fish will cast a long gut out of her throat, which, like as an Angler doth his line, she sendeth forth and pulleth in again at her pleasure, according as she sees some little fish come near to her; and the Cuttle-fish, being then hid in the gravel, lets the smaller fish nibble and bite the end of it, at which time she by little and little draws the smaller fish so near to her, that she may leap upon her, and then catches and devours her: and for this reason some have called this fish the Sea-Angler.
And there is a fish called a Hermit, that at a certain age gets into a dead fish's shell, and like a hermit dwells there alone, studying the wind and weather, and so turns her shell that she makes it defend her from the injuries that they would bring upon her.
There is also a fish called, by Ælian, in his ninth Book of Living Creatures, Ch. 16, the Adonis, or Darling of the Sea; so called because it is a loving and innocent fish, a fish that hurts nothing that hath life, and is at peace with all the numerous inhabitants of that vast watery element: and truly I think most Anglers are so disposed to most of mankind.
And there are also lustful and chaste fishes, of which I shall give you examples.
And first, what Du Bartas says of a fish called the Sargus: which because none can express it better than he does, I shall give you in his own words; supposing it shall not have the less credit for being verse, for he hath gathered this and other observations out of authors that have been great and industrious searchers into the secrets of Nature.
The adult'rous Sargus doth not only change
Wives every day in the deep streams, but, strange!
As if the honey of sea-love delight
Could not suffice his raging appetite,
Goes courting she-goats on the grassy shore,
Horning their husbands that had horns before.
And the same author writes concerning the Cantharus, that which you shall also hear in his own words: —
But contrary, the constant Cantharus
Is ever constant to his faithful spouse;
In nuptial duties spending his chaste life,
Never loves any but his own dear wife.
Sir, but a little longer, and I have done.
VEN. Sir, take what liberty you think fit, for your discourse seems to be music, and charms me to an attention.
PISC. Why then, Sir, I will take a little liberty to tell, or rather to remember you, what is said of Turtle-Doves; first, that they silently plight their troth and marry; and that then the survivor scorns, as the Thracian women are said to do, to outlive his or her mate, and this is taken for a truth, and if the survivor shall ever couple with another, then not only the living but the dead, be it either the he or the she, is denied the name and honor of a true Turtle-Dove.
And to parallel this land-rarity, and teach mankind moral faith fulness, and to condemn those that talk of religion, and yet come short of the moral faith of fish and fowl; men that violate the law affirmed by St. Paul (Rom. ii, 14, 15, 16), to be writ in their hearts, and which, he says, shall at the last day condemn and leave them without excuse; — I pray hearken to what Du Bartas sings, for the hearing of such conjugal faithfulness will be music to all chaste ears, and therefore I pray hearken to what Du Bartas sings of the Mullet.
But for chaste love the Mullet hath no peer;
For, if the fisher hath surprised her pheer,
As mad with woe, to shore she followeth,
Prest to consort him both in life and death.
On the contrary, what shall I say of the House Cock, which treads any hen; and then, contrary to the Swan, the Partridge, and Pigeon, takes no care to hatch, to feed, or to cherish his own brood, but is senseless, though they perish.
And 'tis considerable, that the Hen, which, because she also takes any Cock, expects it not, who is sure the chickens be her own, hath by a moral impression her care and affection to her own brood more than doubled, even to such a height, that our Saviour, in expressing his love to Jerusalem (Matt. xxiii. 37), quotes her for an example of tender affection; as his father had done Job for a pattern of patience.
And to parallel this Cock, there be divers fishes that cast their spawn on flags or stones, and then leave it uncovered, and exposed to become a prey, and be devoured by vermin, or other fishes; but other fishes, as namely the Barbel, take such care for the preservation of their seed, that, unlike to the Cock or the Cuckoo, they mutually labor, both the spawner and the melter, to cover their spawn with sand, or watch it, or hide it in some secret place, unfrequented by vermin or by any fish but themselves.
Sir, these examples may, to you and others, seem strange; but they are testified, some by Aristotle, some by Pliny, some by Gesner, and by many others of credit, and are believed and known by divers, both of wisdom and experience, to be a truth; and indeed are, as I said at the beginning, fit for the contemplation of a most serious and a most pious man. And, doubtless, this made the Prophet David say (Psal. cvii. 23, 24), "They that occupy themselves in deep waters see the wonderful works of God": indeed, such wonders and pleasures too as the land affords not.
And that they be fit for the contemplation of the most prudent, and pious, and peaceable men, seems to be testified by the practice of so many devout and contemplative men, as the Patriarchs and Prophets of old, and of the Apostles of our Saviour in our latter times; of which twelve, we are sure he chose four that were simple Fishermen, whom he inspired and sent to publish his blessed will to the Gentiles, and inspired them also with a power to speak all languages, and by their powerful eloquence to beget faith in the unbelieving Jews, and themselves to suffer for that Saviour whom their forefathers and they had crucified; and, in their sufferings, to preach freedom from the incumbrances of the law, and a new way to everlasting life. This was the employment of these happy Fisher men, concerning which choice some have made these observations.
First, that he never reproved these for their employment or calling, as he did scribes and the money-changers. And secondly, he found that the hearts of such men by nature were fitted for contemplation and quietness; men of mild, and sweet, and peace able spirits, as indeed most Anglers are: these men, our blessed Saviour, who is observed to love to plant grace in good natures, though indeed nothing be too hard for him, yet these men he chose to call from their irreprovable employment of fishing, and gave them grace to be his disciples, and to follow him and do wonders; I say four of twelve.
And it is observable, that it was our Saviour's will, that these our four Fishermen should have a priority of nomination in the catalogue of his Twelve Apostles (Matt. x. 2-4, Acts i. 13), as namely, first St. Peter, St. Andrew, St. James, and St. John, and then the rest in their order.
And it is yet more observable, that when our blessed Saviour went up into the mount, when he left the rest of his disciples and chose only three to bear him company at his Transfiguration, that those three were all Fishermen. And it is to be believed, that all the other Apostles, after they betook themselves to follow Christ, betook themselves to be Fishermen too; for it is certain that the greater number of them were found together fishing by Jesus after his Resurrection, as it is recorded in the twenty-first chapter of St. John's Gospel, v. 3, 4.
And since I have your promise to hear me with patience, I will take a liberty to look back upon an observation that hath been made by an ingenious and learned man; who observes, that God hath been pleased to allow those whom he himself hath appointed to write his holy will in Holy Writ, yet, to express his will in such metaphors as their former affections or practice had inclined them to: and he brings Solomon for an example, who before his conversion was remarkably carnally amorous; and after by God's appointment wrote that spiritual dialogue or holy amorous love-song, the Canticles, betwixt God and his Church; in which he says his beloved had eyes like the fish-pools of Heshbon.
And if this hold in reason, as I see none to the contrary, then it may be probably concluded, that Moses, who, I told you before, writ the Book of Job, and the Prophet Amos, who was a shepherd, were both Anglers; for you shall in all the Old Testament find fish-hooks, I think, but twice mentioned; namely, by meek Moses, the friend of God, and by the humble Prophet Amos.
Concerning which last, namely, the Prophet Amos, I shall make but this observation, — that he that shall read the humble, lowly, plain style of that prophet, and compare it with the high, glorious, eloquent style of the Prophet Isaiah, though they be both equally true, may easily believe Amos to be, not only a shepherd, but a good-natured, plain fisherman. Which I do the rather believe by comparing the affectionate, loving, lowly, humble Epistles of St. Peter, St. James, and St. John, whom we know were all Fishers, with the glorious language and high metaphors of St. Paul, who we may believe was not.
And for the lawfulness of fishing, it may very well be maintained by our Saviour's bidding St. Peter cast his hook into the water and catch a fish, for money to pay tribute to Cæsar. And let me tell you, that Angling is of high esteem, and of much use in other nations. He that reads the Voyages of Ferdinand Mendez Pinto shall find that there he declares to have found a king and several priests a-fishing.
And he that reads Plutarch shall find that Angling was not contemptible in the days of Mark Antony and Cleopatra, and that they in the midst of their wonderful glory used Angling as a principal recreation. And let me tell you, that in the Scripture Angling is always taken in the best sense; and that, though Hunting may be sometimes so taken, yet it is but seldom to be so understood, And let me add this more, — he that views the ancient Ecclesiastical Canons shall find Hunting to be forbidden to churchmen, as being a turbulent, toilsome, perplexing recreation; and shall find Angling allowed to clergymen, as being a harmless recreation, a recreation that invites them to contemplation and quietness.
I might here enlarge myself by telling you what commendations our learned Perkins bestows on Angling; and how dear a lover and great a practiser of it our learned Doctor Whitaker was, as indeed many others of great learning have been. But I will content myself with two memorable men, that lived near to our own time, whom I also take to have been ornaments to the art of Angling.
The first is Doctor Nowel, sometime Dean of the Cathedral Church of St. Paul in London, where his monument stands yet undefaced: a man that in the Reformation of Queen Elizabeth, nor that of Henry VIII., was so noted for his meek spirit, deep learning, prudence, and piety, that the then Parliament and Convocation both chose, enjoined, and trusted him to be the man to make a Catechism for public use, such a one as should stand as a rule for faith and manners to their posterity. And the good old man, though he was very learned, yet knowing that God leads us not to heaven by many nor by hard questions, like an honest Angler, made that good, plain, unperplexed Catechism which is printed with our good old Service-Book. I say, this good man was a dear lover and constant practiser of Angling as any age can produce; and his custom was to spend, besides his fixed hours of prayer, those hours which by command of the Church were enjoined the clergy, and voluntarily dedicated to devotion by many primitive Christians, — I say, beside those hours, this good man was observed to spend a tenth part of his time in Angling; and also, for I have conversed with those which have conversed with him, to bestow a tenth part of his revenue, and usually all his fish, amongst the poor that in habited near to those rivers in which it was caught; saying often, "that Charity gave life to Religion": and at his return to his house would praise God he had spent that day free from worldly trouble; both harmlessly, and in a recreation that became a churchman. And this good man was well content, if not desirous, that posterity should know he was an Angler, as may appear by his picture now to be seen, and carefully kept in Brazen-nose College, to which he was a liberal benefactor; in which picture he is drawn leaning on a desk with his Bible before him, and on one hand of him his lines, hooks, and other tackling, lying in a round; and on his other hand are his Angle-rods of several sorts: and by them this is written, "that he died 13 Feb. 1601, being aged ninety-five years, forty-four of which he had been Dean of St. Paul's Church; and that his age had neither impaired his hearing, nor dimmed his eyes, nor weakened his memory, nor made any of the faculties of his mind weak or useless." 'Tis said that Angling and temperance were great causes of these blessings, and I wish the like to all that imitate him and love the memory of so good a man.
My next and last example shall be that under-valuer of money, the late Provost of Eton College, Sir Henry Wotton; a man with whom I have often fished and conversed, a man whose foreign employments in the service of this nation, and whose experience, learning, wit, and cheerfulness made his company to be esteemed one of the delights of mankind. This man, whose very approbation of Angling were sufficient to convince any modest censurer of it, this man was also a most dear lover, and a frequent practiser, of the art of Angling; of which he would say, "'Twas an employ ment for his idle time, which was then not idly spent": for Angling was, after tedious study, "a rest to his mind, a cheerer of his spirits, a diverter of sadness, a calmer of unquiet thoughts, a moderator of passions, a procurer of contentedness"; and "that it begat habits of peace and patience in those that professed and practised it." Indeed, my friend, you will find Angling to be like the virtue of humility, which has a calmness of spirit, and a world of other blessings attending upon it.
Sir, this was the saying of that learned man, and I do easily believe that peace, and patience, and a calm content, did cohabit in the cheerful heart of Sir Henry Wotton, because I know that, when he was beyond seventy years of age, he made this description of a part of the present pleasure that possessed him, as he sat quietly in a summer's evening on a bank a-fishing. It is a description of the Spring, which because it glided as soft and sweetly from his pen as that river does at this time, by which it was then made, I shall repeat it unto you.
This day Dame Nature seemed in love:
The lusty sap began to move;
Fresh juice did stir th' embracing vines,
And birds had drawn their valentines.
The jealous Trout, that low did lie,
Rose at a well-dissembled fly:
There stood my friend, with patient skill,
Attending of his trembling quill.
Already were the eaves possest
With the swift Pilgrim's daubed nest:
The groves already did rejoice
In Philomel's triumphing voice:
The showers were short, the weather mild,
The morning fresh, the evening smiled.
Joan takes her neat rubbed pail, and now
She trips to milk the sand-red cow;
Where, for some sturdy foot-ball swain,
Joan strokes a syllabub or twain.
The fields and gardens were beset
With tulips, crocus, violet:
And now, though late, the modest rose
Did more than half a blush disclose.
Thus all looks gay, and full of cheer,
To welcome the new-liveried year.
These were the thoughts that then possessed the undisturbed mind of Sir Henry Wotton, Will you hear the wish of another Angler, and the commendation of his happy life, which he also sings in verse? viz. Jo. Davors, Esq.: —
Let me live harmlessly, and near the brink
Of Trent or Avon have a dwelling-place;
Where I may see my quill or cork down sink
With eager bite of Perch, or Bleak, or Dace;
And on the world and my Creator think:
Whilst some men strive ill-gotten goods t' embrace,
And others spend their time in base excess
Of wine, or, worse, in war and wantonness.
Let them that list these pastimes still pursue,
And on such pleasing fancies feed their fill,
So I the fields and meadows green may view,
And daily by fresh rivers walk at will,
Among the daisies and the violets blue,
Red hyacinth, and yellow daffodil,
Purple Narcissus like the morning rays,
Pale gander-grass, and azure culver-keys.
I count it higher pleasure to behold
The stately compass of the lofty sky,
And in the midst thereof, like burning gold,
The flaming chariot of the world's great eye;
The watery clouds that in the air up-rolled
With sundry kinds of painted colors fly;
And fair Aurora lifting up her head
Still blushing, rise from old Tithonus' bed;
The hills and mountains raisèd from the plains,
The plains extended level with the ground,
The grounds divided into sundry veins,
The veins enclosed with rivers running round;
These rivers making way through Nature's chains
With headlong course into the sea profound;
The raging sea, beneath the valleys low,
Where lakes and rills and rivulets do flow;
The lofty woods, the forests wide and long,
Adorned with leaves, and branches fresh and green,
In whose cool bowers the birds with many a song
Do welcome with their quire the Summer's Queen;
The meadows fair where Flora's gifts among
Are intermixed, with verdant grass between;
The silver-scalèd fish that softly swim
Within the sweet brook's crystal watery stream.
All these, and many more of His creation
That made the heavens, the Angler oft doth see;
Taking therein no little delectation,
To think how strange, how wonderful, they be!
Framing thereof an inward contemplation,
To set his heart from other fancies free;
And whilst he looks on these with joyful eye,
His mind is rapt above the starry sky.
Sir, I am glad my memory has not lost these last verses, because they are somewhat more pleasant and more suitable to May-day than my harsh discourse; and I am glad your patience hath held out so long as to hear them and me, for both together have brought us within the sight of the Thatched House; and I must be your debtor, if you think it worth your attention, for the rest of my promised discourse, till some other opportunity and a like time of leisure.
VEN. Sir, you have Angled me on with much pleasure to the Thatched House; and I now find your words true, that "good company makes the way seem short": for trust me, Sir, I thought we had wanted three miles of this house till you showed it to me; but now we are at it, we'll turn into it, and refresh ourselves with a cup of drink and a little rest.
PISC. Most gladly, Sir, and we'll drink a civil cup to all the Otter-hunters that are to meet you to-morrow.
VEN. That we will, Sir, and to all the lovers of Angling too, of which number I am now willing to be one myself; for, by the help of your good discourse and company, I have put on new thoughts both of the art of Angling, and of all that profess it: and if you will but meet me to-morrow at the time and place appointed, and bestow one day with me and my friends in hunting the Otter, I will dedicate the next two days to wait upon you, and we two will for that time do nothing but angle, and talk of fish and fishing.
PISC. 'Tis a match, Sir; I'll not fail you, God willing, to be at Amwell Hill to-morrow morning before sun-rising.