The Project Gutenberg EBook of The Complete Angler, 1653, by Isaak Walton

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Title: The Complete Angler, 1653

Author: Isaak Walton

Release Date: October, 2005 [EBook #9198]
This file was first posted on September 15, 2003
Last Updated: May 13, 2013

Language: English

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Being a Facsimile Reprint of the First Edition published in 1653. With a Preface by RICHARD LE GALLIENNE.

titlepage (155K)



The Complete ANGLER.













List of Illustrations

F a Trout

F a Pike

F a Carp

F a Tench

F a Pearch

F a Barbell

Song With Notes


The "first edition" has been a favourite theme for the scorn of those who love it not. "The first edition—and the worst!" gibes a modern poet, and many are the true lovers of literature entirely insensitive to the accessory, historical or sentimental, associations of books. The present writer possesses a copy of one of Walton's Lives, that of Bishop Sanderson, with the author's donatory inscription to a friend upon the title-page. To keep this in his little library he has undergone willingly many privations, cheerfully faced hunger and cold rather than let it pass from his hand; yet, how often when, tremulously, he has unveiled this treasure to his visitors, how often has it been examined with undilating eyes, and cold, unenvious hearts! Yet so he must confess himself to have looked upon a friend's superb first edition of "Pickwick" though surely not without that measure of interest which all, save the quite unlettered or unintelligent, must feel in seeing the first visible shape of a book of such resounding significance in English literature.

Such interest may, without fear of denial, be claimed for a facsimile of the first edition of "The Compleat Angler" after "Robinson Crusoe" perhaps the most popular of English classics. Thomas Westwood, whose gentle poetry, it is to be feared, has won but few listeners, has drawn this fancy picture of the commotion in St. Dunstan's Churchyard on a May morning of the year 1653, when Richard Marriott first published the famous discourse, little dreaming that he had been chosen for the godfather of so distinguished an immortality. The lines form an epilogue to twelve beautiful sonnets propos of the bi-centenary of Walton's death:

 "What, not a word for thee, O little tome,
  Brown-jerkined, friendly-faced—of all my books
  The one that wears the quaintest, kindliest looks—
  Seems most completely, cosily at home
  Amongst its fellows. Ah! if thou couldst tell
  Thy story—how, in sixteen fifty-three,
  Good Master Marriott, standing at its door,
  Saw Anglers hurrying—fifty—nay, three score,
  To buy thee ere noon pealed from Dunstan's bell:—
  And how he stared and ... shook his sides with glee.
  One story, this, which fact or fiction weaves.
  Meanwhile, adorn my shelf, beloved of all—
  Old book! with lavender between thy leaves,
  And twenty ballads round thee on the wall."

Whether there was quite such a rush as this on its publishing day we have no certain knowledge, though Westwood, in his "Chronicle of the Compleat Angler" speaks of "the almost immediate sale of the entire edition." According to Sir Harris Nicolas, it was thus advertised in The Perfect Diurnall: from Monday, May 9th, to Monday, May 16th, 1653:

"The Compleat Angler, or the Contemplative Man's Recreation, being a discourse of Fish and Fishing, not unworthy the perusal of most Anglers, of 18 pence price. Written by Iz. Wa. Also the Gipsee, never till now published: Both printed for Richard Marriot, to be sold at his shop in Saint Dunstan's Churchyard, Fleet street."

And it was thus calmly, unexcitedly noticed in the Mercurius Politicus: from Thursday, May 12, to Thursday, May 19, 1653: "There is newly extant, a Book of 18d. price, called the Compleat Angler, or the Contemplative Man's Recreation, being a discourse of Fish and Fishing, not unworthy the perusal of most Anglers. Printed for Richard Marriot, to be sold at his shop in St. Dunstan's Churchyard, Fleet street."

Thus for it, as for most great births, the bare announcement sufficed. One of the most beautiful of the world's books had been born into the world, and was still to be bought in its birthday form—for eighteen-pence.

In 1816, Mr. Marston calculates, the market value was about 4 4s. In 1847 Dr. Bethune estimated it at 12 12s. In 1883 Westwood reckoned it "from 70 to 80 or even more" and since then copies have fetched 235 and 310, though in 1894 we have a sudden drop at Sotheby's to 150—which, however, was more likely due to the state of the copy than to any diminution in the zeal of Waltonian collectors, a zeal, indeed, which burns more ardently from year to year.

Sufficiently out of reach of the poor collector as it is at present, it is probable that it will mount still higher, and consent only to belong to richer and richer men. And thus, in course of time, this facsimile will, in clerical language, find an increasing sphere of usefulness; for it is to those who have more instant demands to satisfy with their hundred-pound notes that this facsimile is designed to bring consolation. If it is not the rose itself, it is a photographic refection of it, and it will undoubtedly give its possessor a sufficiently faithful idea of its original.

But, apart from the satisfaction of such curiosity, the facsimile has a literary value, in that it differs very materially from succeeding editions. The text by which "The Compleat Angler" is generally known is that of the fifth edition, published in 1676, the last which Walton corrected and finally revised, seven years before his death. But in the second edition (1655) the book was already very near to its final shape, for Walton had enlarged it by about a third, and the dialogue was now sustained by three persons, Piscator, Venator and Auceps, instead of two—the original "Viator" also having changed his name to "Venator." Those interested in tracing the changes will find them all laboriously noted in Sir Harris Nicolas's great edition. Of the further additions made in the fifth edition, Sir Harris Nicolas makes this just criticism: "It is questionable," he says, "whether the additions which he then made to it have increased its interest. The garrulity and sentiments of an octogenarian are very apparent in some of the alterations; and the subdued colouring of religious feeling which prevails throughout the former editions, and forms one of the charms of the piece, is, in this impression, so much heightened as to become almost obtrusive."

There is a third raison d'tre for this facsimile, which to name with approbation will no doubt seem impiety to many, but which, as a personal predilection, I venture to risk—there is no Cotton! The relation between Walton and Cotton is a charming incongruity to contemplate, and one stands by their little fishing-house in Dovedale as before an altar of friendship. Happy and pleasant in their lives, it is good to see them still undivided in their deaths—but, to my mind, their association between the boards of the same book mars a charming classic. No doubt Cotton has admirably caught the spirit of his master, but the very cleverness with which he has done it increases the sense of parody with which his portion of the book always offends me. Nor can I be the only reader of the book for whom it ends with that gentle benediction—"And upon all that are lovers of virtue, and dare trust in his providence, and be quiet, and go a Angling"—and that sweet exhortation from I Thess. iv. 11—"Study to be quiet."

After the exquisite quietism of this farewell, it is distracting to come precipitately upon the fine gentleman with the great wig and the Frenchified airs. This is nothing against "hearty, cheerful Mr. Cotton's strain" of which, in Walton's own setting and in his own poetical issues, I am a sufficient admirer. Cotton was a clever literary man, and a fine engaging figure of a gentleman, but, save by the accident of friendship, he has little more claim to be printed along with Walton than the gallant Col. Robert Venables, who, in the fifth edition, contributed still a third part, entitled "The Experienc'd Angler: or, Angling Improv'd. Being a General Discourse of Angling," etc., to a book that was immortally complete in its first.

While "The Compleat Angler" was regarded mainly as a text-book for practical anglers, one can understand its publisher wishing to make it as complete as possible by the addition of such technical appendices; but now, when it has so long been elevated above such literary drudgery, there is no further need for their perpetuation. For I imagine that the men to-day who really catch fish, as distinguished from the men who write sentimentally about angling, would as soon think of consulting Izaak Walton as they would Dame Juliana Berners. But anyone can catch fish—can he, do you say?—the thing is to have so written about catching them that your book is a pastoral, the freshness of which a hundred editions have left unexhausted,—a book in which the grass is for ever green, and the shining brooks do indeed go on forever.


[Frontispiece Text:

titlepage (155K)
                Compleat Angler
                     or the
              Contemplative Man's

             Being a Discourse of
               FISH and FISHING,
     Not unworthy the perusal of most Anglers.
  Simon Peter said, I go a fishing; and they said. We
       also wil go with thee. John 21.3.

   London, Printed by T. Maxes for RICH. MARRIOT, in
       S. Dunstans Churchyard Fleet Street, 1653.]
dedicatiion (89K)

To the Right Worshipful JOHN OFFLEY Of MADELY Manor in the County of Stafford, Esq, My most honoured Friend.


I have made so ill use of your former favors, as by them to be encouraged to intreat that they may be enlarged to the patronage and protection of this Book; and I have put on a modest confidence, that I shall not be denyed, because 'tis a discourse of Fish and Fishing, which you both know so well, and love and practice so much.

You are assur'd (though there be ignorant men of an other belief) that Angling is an Art; and you know that Art better then any that I know: and that this is truth, is demostrated by the fruits of that pleasant labor which you enjoy when you purpose to give rest to your mind, and devest your self of your more serious business, and (which is often) dedicate a day or two to this Recreation.

At which time, if common Anglers should attend you, and be eye-witnesses of the success, not of your fortune, but your skill, it would doubtless beget in them an emulation to be like you, and that emulation might beget an industrious diligence to be so: but I know it is not atainable by common capacities.

Sir, this pleasant curiositie of Fish and Fishing (of which you are so great a Master) has been thought worthy the pens and practices of divers in other Nations, which have been reputed men of great Learning and Wisdome; and amongst those of this Nation, I remember Sir Henry Wotton (a dear lover of this Art) has told me, that his intentions were to write a discourse of the Art, and in the praise of Angling, and doubtless he had done so, if death had not prevented him; the remembrance of which hath often made me sorry; for, if he had lived to do it, then the unlearned Angler (of which I am one) had seen some Treatise of this Art worthy his perusal, which (though some have undertaken it) I could never yet see in English.

But mine may be thought: as weak and as unworthy of common view: and I do here freely confess that I should rather excuse myself, then censure others my own Discourse being liable to so many exceptions; against which, you (Sir) might make this one, That it can contribute nothing to your knowledge; and lest a longer Epistle may diminish your pleasure, I shall not adventure to make this Epistle longer then to add this following truth, That I am really, Sir,

Your most affectionate Friend, and most humble Servant,

                                             Iz. Wa.

To the Reader of this Discourse: But especially, To the honest ANGLER.

I think fit to tell thee these following truths; that I did not undertake to write, or to publish this discourse of fish and fishing, to please my self, and that I wish it may not displease others; for, I have confest there are many defects in it. And yet, I cannot doubt, but that by it, some readers may receive so much profit or pleasure, as if they be not very busie men, may make it not unworthy the time of their perusall; and this is all the confidence that I can put on concerning the merit of this Book.

And I wish the Reader also to take notice, that in writing of it, I have made a recreation, of a recreation; and that it might prove so to thee in the reading, and not to read dull, and tediously, I have in severall places mixt some innocent Mirth; of which, if thou be a severe, sowr complexioned man, then I here disallow thee to be a competent Judg. For Divines say, there are offences given; and offences taken, but not given. And I am the willinger to justifie this innocent Mirth, because the whole discourse is a kind of picture of my owne disposition, at least of my disposition in such daies and times as I allow my self, when honest Nat. and R. R. and I go a fishing together; and let me adde this, that he that likes not the discourse, should like the pictures the Trout and other fish, which I may commend, because they concern not my self. And I am also to tel the Reader, that in that which is the more usefull part of this discourse; that is to say, the observations of the nature and breeding, and seasons, and catching of fish, I am not so simple as not to think but that he may find exceptions in some of these; and therefore I must intreat him to know, or rather note, that severall Countreys, and several Rivers alter the time and manner of fishes Breeding; and therefore if he bring not candor to the reading of this Discourse, he shall both injure me, and possibly himself too by too many Criticisms.

Now for the Art of catching fish; that is to say, how to make a man that was none, an Angler by a book: he that undertakes it, shall undertake a harder task then Hales offered to thy view and censure; I with thee as much in the perusal of it, and so might that in his printed Book [called the private School of defence] undertook by it to teach the Art of Fencing, and was laught at for his labour. Not but that something usefull might be observed out of that Book; but that Art was not to be taught by words; nor is the Art of Angling. And yet, I think, that most that love that Game, may here learn something that may be worth their money, if they be not needy: and if they be, then my advice is, that they forbear; for, I write not to get money, but for pleasure; and this discourse boasts of no more: for I hate to promise much, and fail.

But pleasure I have found both in the search and conference about what is here offered to thy view and censure; I wish thee as much in the perusal of it, and so might here take my leave; but I will stay thee a little longer by telling thee, that whereas it is said by many, that in Fly-fishing for a Trout, the Angler must observe his twelve Flyes for every Month; I say, if he observe that, he shall be as certain to catch fish, as they that make Hay by the fair dayes in Almanacks, and be no surer: for doubtless, three or four Flyes rightly made, do serve for a Trout all Summer, and for Winter-flies, all Anglers know, they are as useful as an Almanack out of date.

Of these (because no man is born an Artist nor an Angler) I thought fit to give thee this notice. I might say more, but it is not fit for this place; but if this Discourse which follows shall come to a second impression, which is possible, for slight books have been in this Age observed to have that fortune; I shall then for thy sake be glad to correct what is faulty, or by a conference with any to explain or enlarge what is defective: but for this time I have neither a willingness nor leasure to say more, then wish thee a rainy evening to read this book in, and that the east wind may never blow when thou goest a fishing. Farewel.

                                                         Iz. Wa.

Because in this Discourse of Fish and Fishing I have not observed a method, which (though the Discourse be not long) may be some inconvenience to the Reader, I have therefore for his easier finding out some particular things which are spoken of, made this following Table.

The first Chapter is spent in a vindication or commendation of the Art of Angling.

In the second are some observations of the nature of the Otter, and also some observations of the Chub or Cheven, with directions how and with what baits to fish for him.

In chapt. 3. are some observations of Trouts, both of their nature, their kinds, and their breeding.

In chap. 4. are some direction concerning baits for the Trout, with advise how to make the Fly, and keep the live baits.

In chap. 5. are some direction how to fish for the Trout by night; and a question, Whether fish bear? and lastly, some direction how to fish for the Umber or Greyling.

In chap. 6. are some observations concerning the Salmon, with direction how to fish for him.

In chap. 7 are several observations concerning the Luce or Pike, with some directions how and with what baits to fish for him.

In chap. 8. are several observations of the nature and breeding of Carps, with some observations how to angle for them.

In chap. 9. are some observations concerning the Bream, the Tench, and Pearch, with some directions with what baits to fish for them.

In chap. 10. are several observations of the nature and breeding of Eeles, with advice how to fish for them.

In chap. 11 are some observations of the nature and breeding of Barbels, with some advice how, and with what baits to fish for them; as also for the Gudgion and Bleak.

In chap. 12. are general directions how and with what baits to fish for the Russe or Pope, the Roch, the Dace, and other small fish, with directions how to keep Ant-flies and Gentles in winter, with some other observations not unfit to be known of Anglers.

In chap. 13. are observations for the colouring of your Rod and Hair.

These directions the Reader may take as an ease in his search after some particular Fish, and the baits proper for them; and he will shew himselfe courteous in mending or passing by some errors in the Printer, which are not so many but that they may be pardoned.

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The Complete ANGLER.

OR, The contemplative Mans RECREATION.

      | PISCATOR |
      | VIATOR   |

Piscator. You are wel overtaken Sir; a good morning to you; I have stretch'd my legs up Totnam Hil to overtake you, hoping your businesse may occasion you towards Ware, this fine pleasant fresh May day in the Morning.

Viator. Sir. I shall almost answer your hopes: for my purpose is to be at Hodsden (three miles short of that Town) I wil not say, before I drink; but before I break my fast: for I have appointed a friend or two to meet me there at the thatcht house, about nine of the clock this morning; and that made me so early up, and indeed, to walk so fast.

Pisc. Sir, I know the thatcht house very well: I often make it my resting place, and taste a cup of Ale there, for which liquor that place is very remarkable; and to that house I shall by your favour accompany you, and either abate of my pace, or mend it, to enjoy such a companion as you seem to be, knowing that (as the Italians say) Good company makes the way seem shorter.

Viat. It may do so Sir, with the help of good discourse, which (me thinks) I may promise from you, that both look and speak so cheerfully. And to invite you to it, I do here promise you, that for my part, I will be as free and open-hearted, as discretion will warrant me to be with a stranger.

Pisc. Sir, I am right glad of your answer; and in confidence that you speak the truth, I shall (Sir) put on a boldness to ask, whether pleasure or businesse has occasioned your Journey.

Viat. Indeed, Sir, a little business, and more pleasure: for my purpose is to bestow a day or two in hunting the Otter (which my friend that I go to meet, tells me is more pleasant then any hunting whatsoever:) and having dispatched a little businesse this day, my purpose is tomorrow to follow a pack of dogs of honest Mr. —— ——, who hath appointed me and my friend to meet him upon Amwel hill to morrow morning by day break.

Pisc. Sir, my fortune hath 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 a Pension from the Commonwealth to incourage them to destroy the very breed of those base Otters, they do so much mischief.

Viat. But what say you to the Foxes of this Nation? would not you as willingly have them destroyed? for doubtlesse they do as much mischief as the Otters.

Pisc. Oh Sir, if they do, it is not so much to me and my Fraternitie, as that base Vermin the Otters do.

Viat. Why Sir, I pray, of what Fraternity are you, that you are so angry with the poor Otter?

Pisc. I am a Brother of the Angle, and therefore an enemy to the Otter, he does me and my friends so much mischief; for you are to know, that we Anglers all love one another: and therefore do I hate the Otter perfectly, even for their sakes that are of my Brotherhood.

Viat. Sir, to be plain with you, I am sorry you are an Angler: for I have heard many grave, serious men pitie, and many pleasant men scoff at Anglers.

Pisc. Sir, There are many men that are by others taken to be serious grave men, which we contemn and pitie; men of sowre complexions; mony-getting-men, that spend all their time first in getting, and next in anxious care to keep it: men that are condemn'd to be rich, and alwayes discontented, or busie. For these poor-rich-men, wee Anglers pitie them; and stand in no need to borrow their thoughts to think our selves happie: For (trust me, Sir) we enjoy a contentednesse above the reach of such dispositions.

And as for any scoffer, qui mockat mockabitur. Let mee tell you, (that you may tell him) what the wittie French-man [the Lord Mountagne in his Apol. for Ra-Se-bond.] sayes in such a Case. When my Cat and I entertaine each other with mutuall apish tricks (as playing with a garter,) who knows but that I make her more sport then she makes me? Shall I conclude her simple, that has her time to begin or refuse sportivenesse as freely as I my self have? Nay, who knows but that our agreeing no better, is the defect of my not understanding her language? (for doubtlesse Cats talk and reason with one another) and that shee laughs at, and censures my folly, for making her sport, and pities mee for understanding her no better? To this purpose speaks Mountagne concerning Cats: And I hope I may take as great a libertie to blame any Scoffer, that has never heard what an Angler can say in the justification of his Art and Pleasure.

But, if this satisfie not, I pray bid the Scoffer put this Epigram into his pocket, and read it every morning for his breakfast (for I wish him no better;) Hee shall finde it fix'd before the Dialogues of Lucian (who may be justly accounted the father of the Family of all Scoffers:) And though I owe none of that Fraternitie so much as good will, yet I have taken a little pleasant pains to make such a conversion of it as may make it the fitter for all of that Fraternity.

   Lucian well skill'd in scoffing, this has writ,
   Friend, that's your folly which you think your wit;
   This you vent oft, void both of wit and fear,
   Meaning an other, when your self you jeer.

But no more of the Scoffer; for since Solomon sayes, he is an abomination to men, he shall be so to me; and I think, to all that love Vertue and Angling.

Viat. Sir, you have almost amazed me [Pro 24. 9]: for though I am no Scoffer, yet I have (I pray let me speak it without offence) alwayes look'd upon Anglers as more patient, and more simple men, then (I fear) I shall finde you to be.

Piscat. Sir, I hope you will not judge my earnestnesse to be impatience: and for my simplicitie, if by that you mean a harmlessnesse, or that simplicity that was usually found in the Primitive Christians, who were (as most Anglers are) quiet men, and followed peace; men that were too wise to sell their consciences to buy riches for vexation, and a fear to die. Men that lived in those times when there were fewer Lawyers; for then a Lordship might have been safely conveyed in a piece of Parchment no bigger then your hand, though several skins are not sufficient to do it in this wiser Age. I say, Sir, if you take us Anglers to be such simple men as I have spoken of, then both my self, and those of my profession will be glad to be so understood. But if by simplicitie you meant to expresse any general defect in the understanding of those that professe and practice Angling, I hope to make it appear to you, that there is so much contrary reason (if you have but the patience to hear it) as may remove all the anticipations that Time or Discourse may have possess'd you with, against that Ancient and laudable Art.

Viat. Why (Sir) is Angling of Antiquitie, and an Art, and an art not easily learn'd?

Pisc. Yes (Sir:) and I doubt not but that if you and I were to converse together but til night, I should leave you possess'd with the same happie thoughts that now possesse me; not onely for the Antiquitie of it, but that it deserves commendations; and that 'tis an Art; and worthy the knowledge and practice of a wise, and a serious man.

Viat. Sir, I pray speak of them what you shall think fit; for wee have yet five miles to walk before wee shall come to the Thatcht house. And, Sir, though my infirmities are many, yet I dare promise you, that both my patience and attention will indure to hear what you will say till wee come thither: and if you please to begin in order with the antiquity, when that is done, you shall not want my attention to the commendations and accommodations of it: and lastly, if you shall convince me that 'tis an Art, and an Art worth learning, I shall beg I may become your Scholer, both to wait upon you, and to be instructed in the Art it self.

Pisc. Oh Sir, 'tis not to be questioned, but that it is an art, and an art worth your Learning: the question wil rather be, whether you be capable of learning it? For he that learns it, must not onely bring an enquiring, 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 Vertue, a reward to it self.

Viat. Sir, I am now become so ful 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.

Pisc. Sir, I wil preface no longer, but proceed in order as you desire me: And first for the Antiquity of Angling, I shall not say much; but onely this; Some say, it is as ancient as Deucalions Floud: and others (which I like better) say, that Belus (who was the inventer of godly and vertuous Recreations) was the Inventer of it: and some others say, (for former times have had their Disquisitions about 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 hee erected to preserve the knowledg of the Mathematicks, Musick, and the rest of those precious Arts, which by Gods appointment or allowance, and his noble industry were thereby preserved from perishing in Noah's Floud.

These (my worthy Friend) have been the opinions of some men, that possibly may have endeavoured to make it more ancient then may well be warranted. But for my part, I shall content my self in telling you, That Angling is much more ancient then the incarnation of our Saviour: For both in the Prophet Amos [Chap. 42], and before him in Job [Chap. 41], (which last Book is judged to be written by Moses) mention is made fish-hooks, which must imply Anglers in those times.

But (my worthy friend) as I would rather prove my self to be a Gentleman, by being learned and humble, valiant and inoffensive, vertuous and communicable, then by a fond ostentation of riches; or (wanting these Vertues my self) boast that these were in my Ancestors; [And yet I confesse, that where a noble and ancient Descent and such Merits meet in any man, it is a double dignification of that person:] and so, if this Antiquitie of Angling (which, for my part, I have not forc'd) shall like an ancient Familie, by either an honour, or an ornament to this vertuous Art which I both love and practise, I shall be the gladder that I made an accidental mention of it; and shall proceed to the justification, or rather commendation of it.

Viat. My worthy Friend, I am much pleased with your discourse, for that you seem to be so ingenuous, and so modest, as not to stretch arguments into Hyperbolicall 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.

Pisc. Sir, I shall proceed; and my next discourse shall be rather a Commendation, then a Justification of Angling: for, in my judgment, if it deserves to be commended, it is more then justified; for some practices what may be justified, deserve no commendation: yet there are none that deserve commendation but may be justified.

And now having said this much by way of preparation, I am next to tell you, that in ancient times a debate hath risen, (and it is not yet resolved) Whether Contemplation or Action be the chiefest thing wherin the happiness of a man doth most consist in this world?

Concerning which, some have maintained 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 that God injoyes himself only by Contemplation of his own Goodness, Eternity, Infiniteness, and Power, and the like; and upon this ground many of them prefer Contemplation before Action: and indeed, many of the Fathers seem to approve this opinion, as may appear in their Comments upon the words of our Saviour to Martha. [Luk. 10. 41, 42]

And contrary to these, others of equal Authority and credit, have preferred Action to be chief; as experiments in Physick, and the application of it, both for the ease and prolongation of mans life, by which man is enabled to act, and to do good to others: And they say also, That Action is not only Doctrinal, but a maintainer of humane Society; and for these, and other reasons, to be preferr'd before Contemplation.

Concerning which two opinions, I shall forbear to add a third, by declaring my own, and rest my self contented in telling you (my worthy friend) that both these meet together, and do most properly belong to the most honest, ingenious, harmless Art of Angling.

And first I shall tel you what some have observed, and I have found in my self, That the very sitting by the Rivers side, is not only the fittest place for, but will invite the Angler to Contemplation: That it is the fittest place, seems to be witnessed by the children of Israel, [Psal. 137.] who having banish'd all mirth and Musick from their pensive hearts, and having hung up their then mute Instruments upon the Willow trees, growing by the Rivers of Babylon, sate down upon those banks bemoaning the ruines of Sion, and contemplating their own sad condition.

And an ingenuous Spaniard sayes, "[That both Rivers, and the inhabitants of the watery Element, were created for wise men to contemplate, and fools to pass by without consideration.]" And though I am too wise to rank myself in the first number, yet give me leave to free my self from the last, by offering to thee a short contemplation, first of Rivers, and then of Fish: concerning which, I doubt not but to relate to you many things very considerable. 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 then Aristotle, [in his Wonders of nature, this is confirmed by Ennius and Solon in his holy History.] tels us of a merry River, the River Elusina, that dances at the noise of Musick, that with Musick it bubbles, dances, and growes sandy, but returns to a wonted calmness and clearness when the Musick ceases. And lastly, (for I would not tire your patience) Josephus, that learned Jew, tells us of a River in Judea, that runs and moves swiftly all the six dayes of the week, and stands still and rests upon their Sabbath day. 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 Gods 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 does so strangely, 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. 104], wherein, for height of Poetry and Wonders, the Prophet David seems even to exceed himself; how doth he there express himselfe in choice Metaphors, even to the amazement of a contemplative Reader, concerning the Sea, the Rivers, and the Fish therein contained. And the great Naturallist Pliny sayes, "[That Natures great and wonderful power is more demonstrated in the Sea, then 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, Randelitius, Pliny, Aristotle, and others is demonstrated: But I will sweeten this discourse also out of a contemplation in Divine Dubartas, who sayes [in the fifth day],

   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;
   Even all that on the earth is to be found,
   As if the world were in deep waters drownd.
   For seas (as well as Skies) have Sun, Moon, Stars;
   (As wel as air) Swallows, Rooks, and Stares;
   (As wel as earth) Vines, Roses, Nettles, Melons,
   Mushrooms, Pinks, Gilliflowers and many milions
   Of other plants, more rare, more strange then these;
   As very fishes living in the seas;
   And 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 Fryer.
   Of which examples but a few years since,
   Were shewn 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, then their different natures, inclinations and actions: concerning which I shall beg your patient ear a little longer.

The Cuttle-fish wil cast a long gut out of her throat, which (like as an Angler does his line) she sendeth, forth and pulleth in again at her pleasure, according as she sees some little fish come neer to her [Mount Elsayes: and others affirm this]; and the Cuttle-fish (being then hid in the gravel) lets the smaller fish nibble and bite the end of it; at which time shee by little and little draws the smaller fish so neer 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.

There are also lustful and chaste fishes, of which I shall also give you examples.

And first, what Dubartas sayes of a fish called the Sargus; which (because none can express it better then 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 Adulterous 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 ranging appetite,
   Goes courting She-Goats on the grassie shore,
   Horning their husbands that had horns before.

And the same Author writes concerning the Cantharus, that which you shall also heare 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.

Viat. Sir, take what liberty you think fit, for your discourse seems to be Musick, and charms me into an attention.

Pisc. Why then Sir, I will take a little libertie 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 out-live his or her Mate; and this is taken for such a truth, that if the Survivor shall ever couple with another, the he or she, not only the living, but the dead, is denyed the name and honour of a true Turtle Dove.

And to parallel this Land Variety & teach mankind moral faithfulness & to condemn those that talk of Religion, and yet come short of the moral faith of fish and fowl; Men that violate the Law, affirm'd by Saint Paul [Rom. 2.14.15] to be writ in their hearts, and which he sayes shal at the last day condemn and leave them without excuse. I pray hearken to what Dubartas sings [5. day.] (for the hearing of such conjugal faithfulness, will be Musick to all chaste ears) and therefore, I say, hearken to what Dubartas 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 shoare 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 Partridg, and Pigeon) takes no care to hatch, to feed, or to cherish his own Brood, but is sensless 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 Broode, more then doubled, even to such a height, that our Saviour in expressing his love to Jerusalem, [Mat. 23. 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 spawne on flags or stones, and then leave it uncovered and exposed to become a prey, and be devoured by Vermine 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 Cuckoe) they mutually labour (both the Spawner, and the Melter) to cover their spawne with sand, or watch it, or hide it in some secret place unfrequented by Vermine, 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 divers others of credit, and are believed and known by divers, both of wisdom and experience, to be a truth; and are (as I said at the beginning) fit for the contemplation of a most serious, and a most pious man.

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 Patriarks or Prophets of old, and of the Apostles of our Saviour in these later times, of which twelve he chose four that were Fishermen: concerning which choice some have made these Observations.

First, That he never reproved these for their Imployment or Calling, as he did the Scribes and the Mony-Changers. And secondly, That he found the hearts of such men, men that by nature were fitted for contemplation and quietness; men of mild, and sweet, and peaceable spirits, (as indeed most Anglers are) these men our blessed Saviour (who is observed to love to plant grace in good natures) though nothing be too hard for him, yet these men he chose to call from their irreprovable imployment, and gave them grace to be his Disciples and to follow him.

And it is observable, that it was our Saviours will that his four Fishermen Apostles should have a prioritie of nomination in the catalogue of his twelve Apostles, as namely first, S. Peter, Andrew, James [Mat. 10.] and John, and then the rest in their order.

And it is yet more observable, that when our blessed Saviour went up into the Mount, at his Transfiguration, when he left the rest of his Disciples and chose onely three to bear him company, that these three were all Fishermen.

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 ingenuous and learned man, who observes that God hath been pleased to allow those whom he himselfe hath appointed, to write his holy will in holy Writ, yet to express his will in such Metaphors as their former affections or practise had inclined them to; and he brings Solomon for an example, who before his conversion was remarkably amorous, and after by Gods appointment, writ that Love-Song [the Canticles] betwixt God and his Church.

And if this hold in reason (as I see none to the contrary) then it may be probably concluded, that Moses (whom I told you before, writ the book of Job) and the Prophet Amos were both Anglers, for you shal in all the old Testaments find fish-hooks 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 stile of that Prophet, and compare it with the high, glorious, eloquent stile of the prophet Isaiah (though they be both equally true) may easily believe him to be a good natured, plaine Fisher-man.

Which I do the rather believe, by comparing the affectionate, lowly, humble epistles of S. Peter, S. James and S. John, whom we know were Fishers, with the glorious language and high Metaphors of S. Paul, who we know was not.

Let me give you the example of two men more, that have lived nearer to our own times: first of Doctor Nowel sometimes Dean of S. Paul's, (in which Church his Monument stands yet undefaced) a man that in the Reformation of Queen Elizabeth (not that of Henry the VIII.) was so noted for his meek spirit, deep Learning, Prudence and Piety, that the then Parliament and Convocation, both chose, injoyned, and trusted him to be the man to make a Catechism for publick use, such a one as should stand as a rule for faith and manners to their posteritie: And the good man (though he was very learned, yet knowing that God leads us not to heaven by hard questions) made that good, plain, unperplext Catechism, that is printed with the old Service Book. I say, this good man was as dear a lover, and constant practicer of Angling, as any Age can produce; and his custome was to spend (besides his fixt hours of prayer, those hours which by command of the Church were enjoined the old Clergy, and voluntarily dedicated to devotion by many Primitive Christians:) besides those hours, this good man was observed to spend, or if you will, to bestow 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 all his fish, amongst the poor that inhabited near to those Rivers in which it was caught, saying often, That Charity gave life to Religion: and at his return would praise God he had spent that day free from worldly trouble, both harmlesly and in a Recreation that became a Church-man.

My next and last example shall be that undervaluer of money, the late Provost of Eaton Colledg, Sir Henry Wotton, (a man with whom I have often fish'd and convers'd) a man whose forraign imployments 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 practicer of the Art of Angling, of which he would say, "['Twas an imployment for his idle time, which was not idly spent;]" for Angling was after tedious study "[A rest to his mind, a cheerer of his spirits, a divertion of sadness, a calmer of unquiet thoughts, a Moderator of passions, a procurer of contentedness, and that it begot habits of peace and patience in those that profest and practic'd 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 possest him, as he sate quietly in a Summers evening on a bank a fishing; it is a description of the Spring, which because it glides as soft and sweetly from his pen, as that River does now by which it was then made, I shall repeat unto you.

   This day dame Nature seem'd in love:
   The lustie sap began to move;
   Fresh juice did stir th'imbracing Vines,
   And birds had drawn their Valentines.
   The jealous Trout, that low did lye,
   Rose at a well dissembled flie;
   There stood my friend with patient skill,
   Attending of his trembling quil.
   Already were the eaves possest
   With the swift Pilgrims dawbed nest:
   The Groves already did rejoice,
   In Philomels triumphing voice:
   The showrs were short, the weather mild,
   The morning fresh, the evening smil'd.

   Jone takes her neat rubb'd pail, and now
   She trips to milk the sand-red Cow;
   Where for some sturdy foot-ball Swain.
   Jone strokes a Sillibub or twaine.
   The fields and gardens were beset
   With Tulips, Crocus, Violet,
   And now, though late, the modest Rose
   Did more then half a blush disclose.
   Thus all looks gay and full of chear
   To welcome the new liveried year.

These were the thoughts that then possest the undisturbed mind of Sir Henry Wotton. Will you hear the wish of another Angler, and the commendation of his happy life [Jo. Da.], which he also sings in Verse.

   Let me live harmlesly, and near the brink
   Of Trent or Avon have a dwelling place,
   Where I may see my quil or cork down sink,
   With eager bit of Pearch, or Bleak, or Dace;
   And on the world and my Creator think,
   Whilst some men strive, ill gotten goods t'imbrace;
     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 Daffadil,
     Purple Narcissus, like the morning rayes,
     Pale ganderglass and azure Culverkayes.

   I count it higher pleasure to behold
   The stately compass of the lofty Skie,
   And in the midst thereof (like burning Gold)
   The flaming Chariot of the worlds great eye,
   The watry clouds, that in the aire up rold,
   With sundry kinds of painted colour flye;
     And fair Aurora lifting up her head,
     Still blushing, rise from old Tithonius bed.

   The hils and mountains raised from the plains,
   The plains extended level with the ground,
   The grounds divided into sundry vains,
   The vains inclos'd with rivers running round;
   These rivers making way through natures chains
   With headlong course into the sea profound;
     The raging sea, beneath the vallies low,
     Where lakes, and rils, and rivulets do flow.

   The loftie woods, the Forrests wide and long
   Adorn'd with leaves & branches fresh & green,
   In whose cool bowres the birds with many a song
   Do welcom with their Quire the Sumers Queen:
   The Meadows fair, where Flora's gifts among
   Are intermixt, with verdant grass between.
     The silver-scaled fish that softly swim,
     Within the sweet brooks chrystal watry 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 Skie.

Sir, I am glad my memory did not lose these last Verses, because they are somewhat more pleasant and more sutable to May Day, then 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 Thatcht 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.

Viat. Sir, You have Angled me on with much pleasure to the thatcht 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 the thatcht House, till you shewed it me: but now we are at it, we'l turn into it, and refresh our selves with a cup of Ale and a little rest.

Pisc. Most gladly (Sir) and we'l drink a civil cup to all the Otter Hunters that are to meet you to morrow.

Viat. That we wil, Sir, and to all the lovers of Angling too, of which number, I am now one my self, 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 too morrow at the time and place appointed, and bestow one day with me and my friends in hunting the Otter, I will the next two dayes 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'l not fail you, God willing, to be at Amwel Hil to morrow morning before Sunrising.


Viat. My friend Piscator, you have kept time with my thoughts, for the Sun is just rising, and I my self just now come to this place, and the dogs have just now put down an Otter, look down at the bottom of the hil, there in that Meadow, chequered with water Lillies and Lady-smocks, there you may see what work they make: look, you see all busie, men and dogs, dogs and men, all busie.

Pisc. Sir, I am right glad to meet you, and glad to have so fair an entrance into this dayes sport, and glad to see so many dogs, and more men all in pursuit of the Otter; lets complement no longer, but joine unto them; come honest Viator, lets be gone, lets make haste, I long to be doing; no reasonable hedge or ditch shall hold me.

Viat. Gentleman Huntsman, where found you this Otter?

Hunt. Marry (Sir) we found her a mile off this place a fishing; she has this morning eaten the greatest part of this Trout, she has only left thus much of it as you see, and was fishing for more; when we came we found her just at it: but we were here very early, we were here an hour before Sun-rise, and have given her no rest since we came: sure she'l hardly escape all these dogs and men. I am to have the skin if we kill him.

Viat. Why, Sir, whats the skin worth?

Hunt. 'Tis worth ten shillings to make gloves; the gloves of an Otter are the best fortification for your hands against wet weather that can be thought of.

Pisc. I pray, honest Huntsman, let me ask you a pleasant question, Do you hunt a Beast or a fish?

H. Sir, It is not in my power to resolve you; for the question has been debated among many great Clerks, and they seem to differ about it; but most agree, that his tail is fish: and if his body be fish too, then I may say, that a fish will walk upon land (for an Otter does so) sometimes five or six, or ten miles in a night. But (Sir) I can tell you certainly, that he devours much fish, and kils and spoils much more: And I can tell you, that he can smel a fish in the water one hundred yards from him (Gesner sayes, much farther) and that his stones are good against the Falling-sickness: and that there is an herb Benione, which being hung in a linen cloth near a Fish Pond, or any haunt that he uses, makes him to avoid the place, which proves he can smell both by water and land. And thus much for my knowledg of the Otter, which you may now see above water at vent, and the dogs close with him; I now see he will not last long, follow therefore my Masters, follow, for Sweetlips was like to have him at this vent.

via. Oh me, all the Horse are got over the river, what shall we do now?

Hun. Marry, stay a little & follow, both they and the dogs will be suddenly on this side again, I warrant you, and the Otter too it may be: now have at him with Kil buck, for he vents again.

via. Marry so he is, for look he vents in that corner. Now, now Ringwood has him. Come bring him to me. Look, 'tis a Bitch Otter upon my word, and she has lately whelped, lets go to the place where she was put down, and not far from it, you will find all her young ones, I dare warrant you: and kill them all too.

Hunt. Come Gentlemen, come all, lets go to the place where we put downe the Otter; look you, hereabout it was that shee kennell'd; look you, here it was indeed, for here's her young ones, no less then five: come lets kill them all.

Pisc. No, I pray Sir; save me one, and I'll try if I can make her tame, as I know an ingenuous Gentleman in Leicester-shire has done; who hath not only made her tame, but to catch fish, and doe many things of much pleasure.

Hunt. Take one with all my heart; but let us kill the rest. And now lets go to an honest Alehouse and sing Old Rose, and rejoice all of us together.

Viat. Come my friend, let me invite you along with us; I'll bear your charges this night, and you shall beare mine to morrow; for my intention is to accompany you a day or two in fishing.

Pisc. Sir, your request is granted, and I shall be right glad, both to exchange such a courtesie, and also to enjoy your company.

Viat. Well, now lets go to your sport of Angling.

Pisc. Lets be going with all my heart, God keep you all, Gentlemen, and send you meet this day with another bitch Otter, and kill her merrily, and all her young ones too.

Viat. Now Piscator, where wil you begin to fish?

Pisc. We are not yet come to a likely place, I must walk a mile further yet before I begin.

Viat. Well then, I pray, as we walk, tell me freely how you like my Hoste, and the company? is not mine Hoste a witty man?

Pisc. Sir, To speak truly, he is not to me; for most of his conceits were either Scripture-jests, or lascivious jests; for which I count no man witty: for the Divel will help a man that way inclin'd, to the first, and his own corrupt nature (which he alwayes carries with him) to the latter. But a companion that feasts the company with wit and mirth, and leaves out the sin (which is usually mixt with them) he is the man: and indeed, such a man should have his charges born: and to such company I hope to bring you this night; for at Trout-Hal, not far from this place, where I purpose to lodg to night, there is usually an Angler that proves good company.

But for such discourse as we heard last night, it infects others; the very boyes will learn to talk and swear as they heard mine Host, and another of the company that shall be nameless; well, you know what example is able to do, and I know what the Poet sayes in the like case:

        ——Many a one
   Owes to his Country his Religion:
   And in another would as strongly grow,
   Had but his Nurse or Mother taught him so.

This is reason put into Verse, and worthy the consideration of a wise man. But of this no more, for though I love civility, yet I hate severe censures: I'll to my own Art, and I doubt not but at yonder tree I shall catch a Chub, and then we'll turn to an honest cleanly Alehouse that I know right well, rest our selves, and dress it for our dinner.

via. Oh, Sir, a Chub is the worst fish that swims, I hoped for a Trout for my dinner.

Pis. Trust me, Sir, there is not a likely place for a Trout hereabout, and we staid so long to take our leave of your Huntsmen this morning, that the Sun is got so high, and shines so clear, that I will not undertake the catching of a Trout till evening; and though a Chub be by you and many others reckoned the worst of all fish, yet you shall see I'll make it good fish by dressing it.

Viat. Why, how will you dress him?

Pisc. I'll tell you when I have caught him: look you here, Sir, do you see? (but you must stand very close) there lye upon the top of the water twenty Chubs: I'll catch only one, and that shall be the biggest of them all: and that I will do so, I'll hold you twenty to one.

Viat. I marry, Sir, now you talk like an Artist, and I'll say, you are one, when I shall see you perform what you say you can do; but I yet doubt it.

Pisc. And that you shall see me do presently; look, the biggest of these Chubs has had some bruise upon his tail, and that looks like a white spot; that very Chub I mean to catch; sit you but down in the shade, and stay but a little while, and I'll warrant you I'll bring him to you.

Viat. I'll sit down and hope well, because you seem to be so confident.

Pisc. Look you Sir, there he is, that very Chub that I shewed you, with the white spot on his tail; and I'll be as certain to make him a good dish of meat, as I was to catch him. I'll now lead you to an honest Alehouse, where we shall find a cleanly room, Lavender in the windowes, and twenty Ballads stuck about the wall; there my Hostis (which I may tell you, is both cleanly and conveniently handsome) has drest many a one for me, and shall now dress it after my fashion, and I warrant it good meat.

Viat. Come Sir, with all my heart, for I begin to be hungry, and long to be at it, and indeed to rest my self too; for though I have walked but four miles this morning, yet I begin to be weary; yester dayes hunting hangs stil upon me.

Pisc. Wel Sir, and you shal quickly be at rest, for yonder is the house I mean to bring you to.

Come Hostis, how do you? wil you first give us a cup of your best Ale, and then dress this Chub, as you drest my last, when I and my friend were hereabout eight or ten daies ago? but you must do me one courtesie, it must be done instantly.

Host. I wil do it, Mr. Piscator, and with all the speed I can.

Pisc. Now Sir, has not my Hostis made haste? And does not the fish look lovely?

Viat. Both, upon my word Sir, and therefore lets say Grace and fall to eating of it.

Pisc. Well Sir, how do you like it?

Viat. Trust me, 'tis as good meat as ever I tasted: now let me thank you for it, drink to you, and beg a courtesie of you; but it must not be deny'd me.

Pisc. What is it, I pray Sir? You are so modest, that me thinks I may promise to grant it before it is asked.

Viat. Why Sir, it is that from henceforth you wil allow me to call you Master, and that really I may be your Scholer, for you are such a companion, and have so quickly caught, and so excellently cook'd this fish, as makes me ambitious to be your scholer.

Pisc. Give me your hand: from this time forward I wil be your Master, and teach you as much of this Art as I am able; and will, as you desire me, tel you somewhat of the nature of some of the fish which we are to Angle for; and I am sure I shal tel you more then every Angler yet knows.

And first I will tel you how you shall catch such a Chub as this was; & then how to cook him as this was: I could not have begun to teach you to catch any fish more easily then this fish is caught; but then it must be this particular way, and this you must do:

Go to the same hole, where in most hot days you will finde floting neer the top of the water, at least a dozen or twenty Chubs; get a Grashopper or two as you goe, and get secretly behinde the tree, put it then upon your hook, and let your hook hang a quarter of a yard short of the top of the water, and 'tis very likely that the shadow of your rod, which you must rest on the tree, will cause the Chubs to sink down to the bottom with fear; for they be a very fearful fish, and the shadow of a bird flying over them will make them do so; but they will presently rise up to the top again, and there lie soaring till some shadow affrights them again: when they lie upon the top of the water, look out the best Chub, which you setting your self in a fit place, may very easily do, and move your Rod as softly as a Snail moves, to that Chub you intend to catch; let your bait fall gently upon the water three or four inches before him, and he will infallibly take the bait, and you will be as sure to catch him; for he is one of the leather-mouth'd fishes, of which a hook does scarce ever lose his hold: and therefore give him play enough before you offer to take him out of the water. Go your way presently, take my rod, and doe as I bid you, and I will sit down and mend my tackling till you return back.

Viat. Truly, my loving Master, you have offered me as fair as I could wish: Ile go, and observe your directions.

Look you, Master, what I have done; that which joyes my heart; caught just such another Chub as yours was.

Pisc. Marry, and I am glad of it: I am like to have a towardly Scholar of you. I now see, that with advice and practice you will make an Angler in a short time.

Viat. But Master, What if I could not have found a Grashopper?

Pis. Then I may tell you, that a black Snail, with his belly slit, to shew his white; or a piece of soft cheese will usually do as well; nay, sometimes a worm, or any kind of fly; as the Ant-fly, the Flesh-fly, or Wall-fly, or the Dor or Beetle, (which you may find under a Cow-turd) or a Bob, which you will find in the same place, and in time wil be a Beetle; it is a short white worm, like to, and bigger then a Gentle, or a Cod-worm, or Case-worm: any of these will do very wel to fish in such a manner. And after this manner you may catch a Trout: in a hot evening, when as you walk by a Brook, and shal see or hear him leap at Flies, then if you get a Grashopper, put it on your hook, with your line about two yards long, standing behind a bush or tree where his hole is, and make your bait stir up and down on the top of the water; you may, if you stand close, be sure of a bit, but not sure to catch him, for he is not a leather mouthed fish: and after this manner you may fish for him with almost any kind of live Flie, but especially with a Grashopper.

Viat. But before you go further, I pray good Master, what mean you by a leather mouthed fish.

Pisc. By a leather mouthed fish, I mean such as have their teeth in their throat, as the Chub or Cheven, and so the Barbel, the Gudgion and Carp, and divers others have; and the hook being stuck into the leather or skin of such fish, does very seldome or never lose its hold: But on the contrary, a Pike, a Pearch, or Trout, and so some other fish, which have not their teeth in their throats, but in their mouthes, which you shal observe to be very full of bones, and the skin very thin, and little of it: I say, of these fish the hook never takes so sure hold, but you often lose the fish unless he have gorg'd it.

Viat. I thank you good Master for this observation; but now what shal be done with my Chub or Cheven that I have caught.

Pisc. Marry Sir, it shall be given away to some poor body, for Ile warrant you Ile give you a Trout for your supper; and it is a good beginning of your Art to offer your first fruits to the poor, who will both thank God and you for it.

And now lets walk towards the water again, and as I go Ile tel you when you catch your next Chub, how to dresse it as this was.

Viat. Come (good Master) I long to be going and learn your direction.

Pisc. You must dress it, or see it drest thus: When you have scaled him, wash him very cleane, cut off his tail and fins; and wash him not after you gut him, but chine or cut him through the middle as a salt fish is cut, then give him four or five scotches with your knife, broil him upon wood-cole or char-cole; but as he is broiling; baste him often with butter that shal be choicely good; and put good store of salt into your butter, or salt him gently as you broil or baste him; and bruise or cut very smal into your butter, a little Time, or some other sweet herb that is in the Garden where you eat him: thus used, it takes away the watrish taste which the Chub or Chevin has, and makes him a choice dish of meat, as you your self know, for thus was that dressed, which you did eat of to your dinner.

Or you may (for variety) dress a Chub another way, and you will find him very good, and his tongue and head almost as good as a Carps; but then you must be sure that no grass or weeds be left in his mouth or throat.

Thus you must dress him: Slit him through the middle, then cut him into four pieces: then put him into a pewter dish, and cover him with another, put into him as much White Wine as wil cover him, or Spring water and Vinegar, and store of Salt, with some branches of Time, and other sweet herbs; let him then be boiled gently over a Chafing-dish with wood coles, and when he is almost boiled enough, put half of the liquor from him, not the top of it; put then into him a convenient quantity of the best butter you can get, with a little Nutmeg grated into it, and sippets of white bread: thus ordered, you wil find the Chevin and the sauce too, a choice dish of meat: And I have been the more careful to give you a perfect direction how to dress him, because he is a fish undervalued by many, and I would gladly restore him to some of his credit which he has lost by ill Cookery.

Viat. But Master, have you no other way to catch a Cheven, or Chub?

Pisc. Yes that I have, but I must take time to tel it you hereafter; or indeed, you must learn it by observation and practice, though this way that I have taught you was the easiest to catch a Chub, at this time, and at this place. And now we are come again to the River; I wil (as the Souldier sayes) prepare for skirmish; that is, draw out my Tackling, and try to catch a Trout for supper.

Viat. Trust me Master, I see now it is a harder matter to catch a Trout then a Chub; for I have put on patience, and followed you this two hours, and not seen a fish stir, neither at your Minnow nor your worm.

Pisc. Wel Scholer, you must indure worse luck sometime, or you will never make a good Angler. But what say you now? there is a Trout now, and a good one too, if I can but hold him; and two or three turns more will tire him: Now you see he lies still, and the sleight is to land him: Reach me that Landing net: So (Sir) now he is mine own, what say you? is not this worth all my labour?

Viat. On my word Master, this is a gallant Trout; what shall we do with him?

trout (27K)

Pisc. Marry ee'n eat him to supper: We'l go to my Hostis, from whence we came; she told me, as I was going out of door, that my brother Peter, a good Angler, and a cheerful companion, had sent word he would lodg there to night, and bring a friend with him. My Hostis has two beds, and I know you and I may have the best: we'l rejoice with my brother Peter and his friend, tel tales, or sing Ballads, or make a Catch, or find some harmless sport to content us.

Viat. A match, good Master, lets go to that house, for the linen looks white, and smels of Lavender, and I long to lye in a pair of sheets that smels so: lets be going, good Master, for I am hungry again with fishing.

Pisc. Nay, stay a little good Scholer, I caught my last Trout with a worm, now I wil put on a Minow and try a quarter of an hour about yonder trees for another, and so walk towards our lodging. Look you Scholer, thereabout we shall have a bit presently, or not at all: Have with you (Sir!) on my word I have him. Oh it is a great logger-headed Chub: Come, hang him upon that Willow twig, and let's be going. But turn out of the way a little, good Scholer, towards yonder high hedg: We'l sit whilst this showr falls so gently upon the teeming earth, and gives a sweeter smel to the lovely flowers that adorn the verdant Meadows.

Look, under that broad Beech tree I sate down when I was last this way a fishing, and the birds in the adjoining Grove seemed to have a friendly contention with an Echo, whose dead voice seemed to live in a hollow cave, near to the brow of that Primrose hil; there I sate viewing the Silver streams glide silently towards their center, the tempestuous Sea, yet sometimes opposed by rugged roots, and pibble stones, which broke their waves, and turned them into some: and sometimes viewing the harmless Lambs, some leaping securely in the cool shade, whilst others sported themselvs in the cheerful Sun; and others were craving comfort from the swolne Udders of their bleating Dams. As I thus sate, these and other sighs had so fully possest my soul, that I thought as the Poet has happily exprest it:

   I was for that time lifted above earth;
   And possest joyes not promis'd in my birth.

As I left this place, and entered into the next field, a second pleasure entertained me, 'twas a handsome Milk-maid, that had cast away all care, and sung like a Nightingale; her voice was good, and the Ditty fitted for it; 'twas that smooth Song which was made by Kit Marlow, now at least fifty years ago; and the Milk maid's mother sung an answer to it, which was made by Sir Walter Raleigh in his younger days.

They were old fashioned Poetry, but choicely good, I think much better then that now in fashion in this Critical age. Look yonder, on my word, yonder they be both a milking again: I will give her the Chub, and persuade them to sing those two songs to us.

Pisc. God speed, good woman, I have been a-fishing, and am going to Bleak Hall to my bed, and having caught more fish then will sup my self and friend, will bestow this upon you and your daughter for I use to sell none.

Milkw. Marry, God requite you Sir, and we'l eat it cheerfully: will you drink a draught of red Cow's milk?

Pisc. No, I thank you: but I pray do us a courtesie that shal stand you and your daughter in nothing, and we wil think our selves stil something in your debt; it is but to sing us a Song, that that was sung by you and your daughter, when I last past over this Meadow, about eight or nine dayes since.

Milk. what Song was it, I pray? was it, Come Shepherds deck your heads: or, As at noon Dulcina rested: or Philida flouts me?

Pisc. No, it is none of those: it is a Song that your daughter sung the first part, and you sung the answer to it.

Milk. O I know it now, I learn'd the first part in my golden age, when I was about the age of my daughter; and the later part, which indeed fits me best, but two or three years ago; you shal, God willing, hear them both. Come Maudlin, sing the first part to the Gentlemen with a merrie heart, and Ile sing the second.

          The Milk maids Song.

   Come live with me, and be my Love,
   And we wil all the pleasures prove
   That vallies, Groves, or hils, or fields,
   Or woods and steepie mountains yeelds.

   Where we will sit upon the Rocks,
   And see the Shepherds feed our flocks,
   By shallow Rivers, to whose falls
   Mellodious birds sing madrigals.

   And I wil make thee beds of Roses,
   And then a thousand fragrant posies,
   A cap of flowers and a Kirtle,
   Imbroidered all with leaves of Mirtle.

   A Gown made of the finest wool
   Which from our pretty Lambs we pull,
   Slippers lin'd choicely for the cold,
   With buckles of the purest gold.

   A belt of straw and ivie buds,
   With Coral clasps, and Amber studs
   And if these pleasures may thee move,
   Come live with me, and be my Love.

   The Shepherds Swains shal dance and sing
   For thy delight each May morning:
   If these delights thy mind may move,
   Then live with me, and be my Love.

Via. Trust me Master, it is a choice Song, and sweetly sung by honest Maudlin: Ile bestow Sir Thomas Overbury's Milk maids wish upon her, That she may dye in the Spring, and have good store of flowers stuck round about her winding sheet.

     The Milk maids mothers answer.

   If all the world and love were young,
   And truth in every Shepherds tongue?
   These pretty pleasures might me move,
   To live with thee, and be thy love.

   But time drives flocks from field to fold:
   When rivers rage and rocks grow cold,
   And Philomel becometh dumb,
   The Rest complains of cares to come.

   The Flowers do fade, and wanton fields
   To wayward Winter reckoning yeilds
   A honey tongue, a heart of gall,
   Is fancies spring, but sorrows fall.

   Thy gowns, thy shooes, thy beds of Roses,
   Thy Cap, thy Kirtle, and thy Posies,
   Soon break, soon wither, soon forgotten,
   In folly ripe, in reason rotten.

   Thy belt of straw and Ivie buds,
   Thy Coral clasps and Amber studs,
   All these in me no means can move
   To come to thee, and be thy Love.

   But could youth last, and love stil breed,
   Had joys no date, nor age no need;
   Then those delights my mind might move
   To live with thee, and be thy love.

Pisc. Well sung, good woman, I thank you, I'l give you another dish of fish one of these dayes, and then beg another Song of you. Come Scholer, let Maudlin alone, do not you offer to spoil her voice. Look, yonder comes my Hostis to cal us to supper. How now? is my brother Peter come?

Host. Yes, and a friend with him, they are both glad to hear you are in these parts, and long to see you, and are hungry, and long to be at supper.


Piscat. Wel met brother Peter, I heard you & a friend would lodg here to night, and that has made me and my friend cast to lodge here too; my friend is one that would faine be a brother of the Angle: he has been an Angler but this day, and I have taught him how to catch a Chub with daping a Grashopper, and he has caught a lusty one of nineteen inches long. But I pray you brother, who is it that is your companion?

Peter. Brother Piscator, my friend is an honest Country man, and his name is Coridon, a most downright witty merry companion that met me here purposely to eat a Trout and be pleasant, and I have not yet wet my line since I came from home: But I wil fit him to morrow with a Trout for his breakfast, if the weather be any thing like.

Pisc. Nay brother, you shall not delay him so long, for look you here is a Trout will fill six reasonable bellies. Come Hostis, dress it presently, and get us what other meat the house wil afford, and give us some good Ale, and lets be merrie.

The Description of a Trout.

Peter. On my word, this Trout is in perfect season. Come, I thank you, and here's a hearty draught to you, and to all the brothers of the Angle, wheresoever they be, and to my young brothers good fortune to morrow; I wil furnish him with a rod, if you wil furnish him with the rest of the tackling, we wil set him up and make him a fisher.

And I wil tel him one thing for his encouragement, that his fortune hath made him happy to be a Scholer to such a Master; a Master that knowes as much both of the nature and breeding of fish, as any man; and can also tell him as well how to catch and cook them, from the Minnow to the Sammon, as any that I ever met withall.

Pisc. Trust me, brother Peter, I find my Scholer to be so sutable to my own humour, which is to be free and pleasant, and civilly merry, that my resolution is to hide nothing from him. Believe me, Scholer, this is my resolution: and so here's to you a hearty draught, and to all that love us, and the honest Art of Angling.

Viat. Trust me, good Master, you shall not sow your seed in barren ground, for I hope to return you an increase answerable to your hopes; but however, you shal find me obedient, and thankful, and serviceable to my best abilitie.

Pisc. 'Tis enough, honest Scholer, come lets to supper. Come my friend Coridon, this Trout looks lovely, it was twenty two inches when it was taken, and the belly of it look'd some part of it as yellow as a Marygold, and part of it as white as a Lily, and yet me thinks it looks better in this good fawce.

Coridon. Indeed, honest friend, it looks well, and tastes well, I thank you for it, and so does my friend Peter, or else he is to blame.

Pet. Yes, and so I do, we all thank you, and when we have supt, I wil get my friend Coridon to sing you a Song, for requital.

Cor. I wil sing a Song if anyboby wil sing another; else, to be plain with you, I wil sing none: I am none of those that sing for meat, but for company; I say, 'Tis merry in Hall when men sing all.

Pisc. I'l promise you I'l sing a Song that was lately made at my request by Mr. William Basse, one that has made the choice Songs of the Hunter in his carrere, and of Tom of Bedlam, and many others of note; and this that I wil sing is in praise of Angling.

Cor. And then mine shall be the praise of a Country mans life: What will the rest sing of?

Pet. I wil promise you I wil sing another Song in praise of Angling, to-morrow night, for we wil not part till then, but fish to morrow, and sup together, and the next day every man leave fishing, and fall to his business.

Viat. 'Tis a match, and I wil provide you a Song or a Ketch against then too, that shal give some addition of mirth to the company; for we wil be merrie.

Pisc. 'Tis a match my masters; lets ev'n say Grace, and turn to the fire, drink the other cup to wet our whistles, and so sing away all sad thoughts.

Come on my masters, who begins? I think it is best to draw cuts and avoid contention.

Pet. It is a match. Look, the shortest Cut fals to Coridon.

Cor. Well then, I wil begin; for I hate contention.

        CORIDONS Song.

   Oh the sweet contentment
   The country man doth find!
     high trolollie laliloe
     high trolollie lee,
   That quiet contemplation
   Possesseth all my mind:
     Then care away,
     and wend along with me.

   For Courts are full of flattery,
   As hath too oft been tri'd;
     high trolollie lollie loe
     high trolollie lee,
   The City full of wantonness,
   and both are full of pride:
     Then care away,
     and wend along with me.

   But oh the honest countryman
   Speaks truly from his heart,
     high trolollie lollie loe
     high trolollie lee,
   His pride is in his Tillage,
   his Horses and his Cart:
     Then care away,
     and wend along with me.

   Our clothing is good sheep skins
   Gray russet for our wives,
     high trolollie lollie loe
     high trolollie lee.
   'Tis warmth and not gay clothing
   that doth prolong our lives:
     Then care away,
     and wend along with me,

   The ploughman, though he labor hard,
   Yet on the Holy-day,
     high trolollie lollie loe
     high trolollie lee,
   No Emperor so merrily
   does pass his time away:
     Then care away,
     and wend along with me.

   To recompence our Tillage,
   The Heavens afford us showrs;
     high trolollie lollie loe
     high trolollie lee,
   And for our sweet refreshments
   the earth affords us bowers:
     Then care away, &c.

   The Cuckoe and the Nightingale
   full merrily do sing,
     high trolollie lollie loe
     high trolollie lee,
   And with their pleasant roundelayes
   bid welcome to the Spring:
     Then care away,
     and wend along with me.

   This is not half the happiness
   the Country man injoyes;
     high trolollie lollie loe
     high trolollie lee,
   Though others think they have as much
   yet he that says so lies:
     Then come away, turn
     County man with me.

Pisc. Well sung Coridon, this Song was sung with mettle, and it was choicely fitted to the occasion; I shall love you for it as long as I know you: I would you were a brother of the Angle, for a companion that is cheerful and free from swearing and scurrilous discourse, is worth gold. I love such mirth as does not make friends ashamed to look upon one another next morning; nor men (that cannot wel bear it) to repent the money they spend when they be warmed with drink: and take this for a rule, you may pick out such times and such companies, that you may make your selves merrier for a little then a great deal of money; for 'Tis the company and not the charge that makes the feast: and such a companion you prove, I thank you for it.

But I will not complement you out of the debt that I owe you, and therefore I will begin my Song, and wish it may be as well liked.

song1 (229K)
song2 (145K)
            The ANGLERS Song.

   As inward love breeds outward talk,
   The Hound some praise, and some the Hawk,
   Some better pleas'd with private sport,
   Use Tenis, some a Mistris court:
     But these delights I neither wish,
     Nor envy, while I freely fish.

   Who hunts, doth oft in danger ride
   Who hauks, lures oft both far & wide;
   Who uses games, may often prove
   A loser; but who fals in love,
     Is fettered in fond Cupids snare:
     My Angle breeds me no such care.

   Of Recreation there is none
   So free as fishing is alone;
   All other pastimes do no less
   Then mind and body both possess;
     My hand alone my work can do,
     So I can fish and study too.

   I care not, I, to fish in seas,
   Fresh rivers best my mind do please,
   Whose sweet calm course I contemplate;
   And seek in life to imitate;
     In civil bounds I fain would keep,
     And for my past offences weep.

   And when the timerous Trout I wait
   To take, and he devours my bait,
   How poor a thing sometimes I find
   Will captivate a greedy mind:
     And when none bite, I praise the wise,
     Whom vain alurements ne're surprise.

   But yet though while I fish, I fast,
   I make good fortune my repast,
   And there unto my friend invite,
   In whom I more then that delight:
     Who is more welcome to my dish,
     Then to my Angle was my fish.

   As well content no prize to take
   As use of taken prize to make;
   For so our Lord was pleased when
   He Fishers made Fishers of men;
     Where (which is in no other game)
     A man may fish and praise his name.

   The first men that our Saviour dear
   Did chuse to wait upon him here,
   Blest Fishers were; and fish the last
   Food was, that he on earth did taste.
     I therefore strive to follow those,
     Whom he to follow him hath chose.

Cor. Well sung brother, you have paid your debt in good coyn, we Anglers are all beholding to the good man that made this Song. Come Hostis, give us more Ale and lets drink to him.

And now lets everie one go to bed that we may rise early; but first lets pay our Reckoning, for I wil have nothing to hinder me in the morning for I will prevent the Sun rising.

Pet. A match: Come Coridon, you are to be my Bed-fellow: I know brother you and your Scholer wil lie together; but where shal we meet to morrow night? for my friend Coridon and I will go up the water towards Ware.

Pisc. And my Scholer and I will go down towards Waltam.

Cor. Then lets meet here, for here are fresh sheets that smel of Lavender, and, I am sure, we cannot expect better meat and better usage.

Pet. 'Tis a match. Good night to every body.

Pisc. And so say I.

Viat. And so say I.

Pisc. Good morrow good Hostis, I see my brother Peter is in bed still; Come, give my Scholer and me a cup of Ale, and be sure you get us a good dish of meat against supper, for we shall come hither as hungry as Hawks. Come Scholer, lets be going.

Viat. Good Master, as we walk towards the water, wil you be pleased to make the way seeme shorter by telling me first the nature of the Trout, and then how to catch him.

Pisc. My honest Scholer, I wil do it freely: The Trout (for which I love to angle above any fish) may be justly said (as the ancient Poets say of Wine, and we English say of Venson) to be a generous fish, because he has his seasons, a fish that comes in, and goes out with the Stag or Buck: and you are to observe, that as there be some barren Does, that are good in Summer; so there be some barren Trouts, that are good in Winter; but there are not many that are so, for usually they be in their perfection in the month of May, and decline with the Buck: Now you are to take notice, that in several Countries, as in Germany and in other parts compar'd to ours, they differ much in their bigness, shape, and other wayes, and so do Trouts; 'tis wel known that in the Lake Lemon, the Lake of Geneva, there are Trouts taken, of three Cubits long, as is affirmed by Gesner, a Writer of good credit: and Mercator sayes, the Trouts that are taken in the Lake of Geneva, are a great part of the Merchandize of that famous City. And you are further to know, that there be certaine waters that breed Trouts remarkable, both for their number and smalness—I know a little Brook in Kent that breeds them to a number incredible, and you may take them twentie or fortie in an hour, but none greater then about the size of a Gudgion. There are also in divers Rivers, especially that relate to, or be near to the Sea, (as Winchester, or the Thames about Windsor) a little Trout called a Samlet or Skegger Trout (in both which places I have caught twentie or fortie at a standing) that will bite as fast and as freely as Minnows; these be by some taken to be young Salmons, but in those waters they never grow to bee bigger then a Herring.

There is also in Kent, neer to Canterbury, a Trout (called there a Fordig Trout) a Trout (that bears the name of the Town where 'tis usually caught) that is accounted rare meat, many of them near the bigness of a Salmon, but knowne by their different colour, and in their best season cut very white; and none have been known to be caught with an Angle, unless it were one that was caught by honest Sir George Hastings, an excellent Angler (and now with God) and he has told me, he thought that Trout bit not for hunger, but wantonness; and 'tis the rather to be believed, because both he then, and many others before him have been curious to search into their bellies what the food was by which they lived; and have found out nothing by which they might satisfie their curiositie.

Concerning which you are to take notice, that it is reported, there is a fish that hath not any mouth, but lives by taking breath by the porinss of her gils, and feeds and is nourish'd by no man knows what; and this may be believed of the Fordig Trout, which (as it is said of the Stork, that he knowes his season, so he) knows his times (I think almost his day) of coming into that River out of the Sea, where he lives (and it is like feeds) nine months of the year, and about three in the River of Fordig.

And now for some confirmation of this; you are to know, that this Trout is thought to eat nothing in the fresh water; and it may be the better believed, because it is well known, that Swallowes, which are not seen to flye in England for six months in the year, but about Michaelmas leave us for a hotter climate; yet some of them, that have been left behind their fellows, [view Sir Fra. Bacon exper. 899.], have been found (many thousand at a time) in hollow trees, where they have been observed to live and sleep [see Topsel of Frogs] out the whole winter without meat; and so Albertus observes that there is one kind of Frog that hath her mouth naturally shut up about the end of August, and that she lives so all the Winter, and though it be strange to some, yet it is known to too many amongst us to bee doubted.

And so much for these Fordig Trouts, which never afford an Angler sport, but either live their time of being in the fresh water by their meat formerly gotten in the Sea, (not unlike the Swallow or Frog) or by the vertue of the fresh water only, as the Camelion is said to live by the air.

There is also in Northumberland, a Trout, called a Bull Trout, of a much greater length and bignesse then any in these Southern parts; and there is in many Rivers that relate to the Sea, Salmon Trouts as much different one from another, both in shape and in their spots, as we see Sheep differ one from another in their shape and bigness, and in the finess of their wool: and certainly as some Pastures do breed larger Sheep, so do some Rivers, by reason of the ground over which they run, breed larger Trouts.

Now the next thing that I will commend to your consideration is, That the Trout is of a more sudden growth then other fish: concerning which you are also to take notice, that he lives not so long as the Pearch and divers other fishes do, as Sir Francis Bacon hath observed in his History of life and death.

And next, you are to take notice, that after hee is come to his full growth, he declines in his bodie, but keeps his bigness or thrives in his head till his death. And you are to know that he wil about (especially before) the time of his Spawning, get almost miraculously through Weires and Floud-Gates against the stream, even through such high and swift places as is almost incredible. Next, that the Trout usually Spawns about October or November, but in some Rivers a little sooner or later; which is the more observable, because most other fish Spawne in the Spring or Summer, when the Sun hath warmed both the earth and water, and made it fit for generation.

And next, you are to note, that till the Sun gets to such a height as to warm the earth and the water, the Trout is sick, and lean, and lowsie, and unwholsome: for you shall in winter find him to have a big head, and then to be lank, and thin, & lean; at which time many of them have sticking on them Sugs, or Trout lice, which is a kind of a worm, in shape like a Clove or a Pin, with a big head, and sticks close to him and sucks his moisture; those I think the Trout breeds himselfe, and never thrives til he free himself from them, which is till warm weather comes, and then as he growes stronger, he gets from the dead, still water, into the sharp streames and the gravel, and there rubs off these worms or lice: and then as he grows stronger, so he gets him into swifter and swifter streams, and there lies at the watch for any flie or Minow that comes neer to him; and he especially loves the May flie, which is bred of the Cod-worm or Caddis; and these make the Trout bold and lustie, and he is usually fatter, and better meat at the end of that month, then at any time of the year.

Now you are to know, that it is observed that usually the best Trouts are either red or yellow, though some be white and yet good; but that is not usual; and it is a note observable that the female Trout hath usually a less head and a deeper body then the male Trout; and a little head to any fish, either Trout, Salmon, or other fish, is a sign that that fish is in season.

But yet you are to note, that as you see some Willows or Palm trees bud and blossome sooner then others do, so some Trouts be in some Rivers sooner in season; and as the Holly or Oak are longer before they cast their Leaves, so are some Trouts in some Rivers longer before they go out of season.


And having told you these Observations concerning Trouts, I shall next tell you how to catch them: which is usually with a Worm, or a Minnow (which some call a Penke;) or with a Flie, either a natural or an artificial Flie: Concerning which three I wil give you some Observations and Directions.

For Worms, there be very many sorts; some bred onely in the earth, as the earth worm; others amongst or of plants, as the dug-worm; and others in the bodies of living creatures; or some of dead flesh, as the Magot or Gentle, and others.

Now these be most of them particularly good for particular fishes: but for the Trout the dew-worm, (which some also cal the Lob-worm) and the Brandling are the chief; and especially the first for a great Trout, and the later for a lesse. There be also of lob-worms, some called squirel-tails (a worm which has a red head, a streak down the back, and a broad tail) which are noted to be the best, because they are the toughest, and most lively, and live longest in the water: for you are to know, that a dead worm is but a dead bait, and like to catch nothing, compared to a lively, quick, stirring worm: And for a Brandling, hee is usually found in an old dunghil, or some very rotten place neer to it; but most usually in cow dung, or hogs dung, rather then horse dung, which is somewhat too hot and dry for that worm.

There are also divers other kindes of worms, which for colour and shape alter even as the ground out of which they are got: as the marsh-worm, the tag-tail, the flag-worm, the dock-worm, the oake-worm, the gilt-tail, and too many to name, even as many sorts, as some think there be of severall kinds of birds in the air: of which I shall say no more, but tell you, that what worms soever you fish with, are the better for being long kept before they be used; and in case you have not been so provident, then the way to cleanse and scoure them quickly, is to put them all night in water, if they be Lob-worms, and then put them into your bag with fennel: but you must not put your Brandling above an hour in water, and then put them into fennel for sudden use: but if you have time, and purpose to keep them long, then they be best preserved in an earthen pot with good store of mosse, which is to be fresh every week or eight dayes; or at least taken from them, and clean wash'd, and wrung betwixt your hands till it be dry, and then put it to them again: And for Moss you are to note, that there be divers kindes of it which I could name to you, but wil onely tel you, that that which is likest a Bucks horn is the best; except it be white Moss, which grows on some heaths, and is hard to be found.

For the Minnow or Penke, he is easily found and caught in April, for then hee appears in the Rivers: but Nature hath taught him to shelter and hide himself in the Winter in ditches that be neer to the River, and there both to hide and keep himself warm in the weeds, which rot not so soon as in a running River in which place if hee were in Winter, the distempered Floods that are usually in that season, would suffer him to have no rest, but carry him headlong to Mils and Weires to his confusion. And of these Minnows, first you are to know, that the biggest size is not the best; and next, that the middle size and the whitest are the best: and then you are to know, that I cannot well teach in words, but must shew you how to put it on your hook, that it may turn the better: And you are also to know, that it is impossible it should turn too quick: And you are yet to know, that in case you want a Minnow, then a small Loch, or a Sticklebag, or any other small Fish will serve as wel: And you are yet to know, that you may salt, and by that means keep them fit for use three or four dayes or longer; and that of salt, bay salt is the best.

Now for Flies, which is the third bait wherewith Trouts are usually taken. You are to know, that there are as many sorts of Flies as there be of Fruits: I will name you but some of them: as the dun flie, the stone flie, the red flie, the moor flie, the tawny flie, the shel flie, the cloudy or blackish flie: there be of Flies, Caterpillars, and Canker flies, and Bear flies; and indeed, too many either for mee to name, or for you to remember: and their breeding is so various and wonderful, that I might easily amaze my self, and tire you in a relation of them.

And yet I wil exercise your promised patience by saying a little of the Caterpillar, or the Palmer flie or worm; that by them you may guess what a work it were in a Discourse but to run over those very many flies, worms, and little living creatures with which the Sun and Summer adorn and beautifie the river banks and meadows; both for the recreation and contemplation of the Angler: and which (I think) I myself enjoy more then any other man that is not of my profession.

Pliny holds an opinion, that many have their birth or being from a dew that in the Spring falls upon the leaves of trees; and that some kinds of them are from a dew left upon herbs or flowers: and others from a dew left upon Colworts or Cabbages: All which kindes of dews being thickened and condensed, are by the Suns generative heat most of them hatch'd, and in three dayes made living creatures, and of several shapes and colours; some being hard and tough, some smooth and soft; some are horned in their head, some in their tail, some have none; some have hair, some none; some have sixteen feet, some less, and some have none: but (as our Topsel hath with great diligence observed) [in his History of Serpents.] those which have none, move upon the earth, or upon broad leaves, their motion being not unlike to the waves of the sea. Some of them hee also observes to be bred of the eggs of other Caterpillers: and that those in their time turn to be Butter-flies; and again, that their eggs turn the following yeer to be Caterpillars.

'Tis endlesse to tell you what the curious Searchers into Natures productions, have observed of these Worms and Flies: But yet I shall tell you what our Topsel sayes of the Canker, or Palmer-worm, or Caterpiller; That wheras others content themselves to feed on particular herbs or leaves (for most think, those very leaves that gave them life and shape, give them a particular feeding and nourishment, and that upon them they usually abide;) yet he observes, that this is called a Pilgrim or Palmer-worm, for his very wandering life and various food; not contenting himself (as others do) with any certain place for his abode, nor any certain kinde of herb or flower for his feeding; but will boldly and disorderly wander up and down, and not endure to be kept to a diet, or fixt to a particular place.

Nay, the very colours of Caterpillers are, as one has observed, very elegant and beautiful: I shal (for a taste of the rest) describe one of them, which I will sometime the next month, shew you feeding on a Willow tree, and you shal find him punctually to answer this very description: "His lips and mouth somewhat yellow, his eyes black as Jet, his ore-head purple, his feet and hinder parts green, his tail two forked and black, the whole body stain'd with a kind of red spots which run along the neck and shoulder-blades, not unlike the form of a Cross, or the letter X, made thus cross-wise, and a white line drawn down his back to his tail; all which add much beauty to his whole body." And it is to me observable, that at a fix'd age this Caterpiller gives over to eat, and towards winter comes to be coverd over with a strange shell or crust, and so lives a kind of dead life, without eating all the winter, and (as others of several kinds turn to be several kinds of flies and vermin, the Spring following) [view Sir Fra. Bacon exper. 728 & 90 in his Natural History] so this Caterpiller then turns to be a painted Butterflye.

Come, come my Scholer, you see the River stops our morning walk, and I wil also here stop my discourse, only as we sit down under this Honey-Suckle hedge, whilst I look a Line to fit the Rod that our brother Peter has lent you, I shall for a little confirmation of what I have said, repeat the observation of the Lord Bartas.

   God not contented to each kind to give,
   And to infuse the vertue generative,
   By his wise power made many creatures breed
   Of liveless bodies, without Venus deed.

   So the cold humour breeds the Salamander,
   Who (in effect) like to her births commander
   With child with hundred winters, with her touch
   Quencheth the fire, though glowing ne'r so much.

   So in the fire in burning furnace springs
   The fly Perausta with the flaming wings;
   Without the fire it dies, in it, it joyes,
   Living in that which all things else destroyes.

Gerb. Herbal. Cabdem

   So slow Botes underneath him sees
   In th'icie Islands Goslings hatcht of trees,
   Whose fruitful leaves falling into the water,
   Are turn'd ('tis known) to living fowls soon after.

   So rotten planks of broken ships, do change
   To Barnacles. Oh transformation strange!
   'Twas first a green tree, then a broken hull,
   Lately a Mushroom, now a flying Gull.

Vi. Oh my good Master, this morning walk has been spent to my great pleasure and wonder: but I pray, when shall I have your direction how to make Artificial flyes, like to those that the Trout loves best? and also how to use them?

Pisc. My honest Scholer, it is now past five of the Clock, we will fish til nine, and then go to Breakfast: Go you to yonder Sycamore tree, and hide your bottle of drink under the hollow root of it; for about that time, and in that place, we wil make a brave Breakfast with a piece of powdered Bief, and a Radish or two that I have in my Fish-bag; we shall, I warrant you, make a good, honest, wholsome, hungry Breakfast, and I will give you direction for the making and using of your fly: and in the mean time, there is your Rod and line; and my advice is, that you fish as you see mee do, and lets try which can catch the first fish.

Viat. I thank you, Master, I will observe and practice your direction as far as I am able.

Pisc. Look you Scholer, you see I have hold of a good fish: I now see it is a Trout; I pray put that net under him, and touch not my line, for if you do, then wee break all. Well done, Scholer, I thank you. Now for an other. Trust me, I have another bite: Come Scholer, come lay down your Rod, and help me to land this as you did the other. So, now we shall be sure to have a good dish of fish for supper.

Viat. I am glad of that, but I have no fortune; sure Master yours is a better Rod, and better Tackling.

Pisc. Nay then, take mine and I will fish with yours. Look you, Scholer, I have another: come, do as you did before. And now I have a bite at another. Oh me he has broke all, there's half a line and a good hook lost.

Viat. Master, I can neither catch with the first nor second Angle; I have no fortune.

Pisc. Look you, Scholer, I have yet another: and now having caught three brace of Trouts, I will tel you a short Tale as we walk towards our Breakfast. A Scholer (a Preacher I should say) that was to preach to procure the approbation of a Parish, that he might be their Lecturer, had got from a fellow Pupil of his the Copy of a Sermon that was first preached with a great commendation by him that composed and precht it; and though the borrower of it preach't it word for word, as it was at first, yet it was utterly dislik'd as it was preach'd by the second; which the Sermon Borrower complained of to the Lender of it, and was thus answered; I lent you indeed my Fiddle, but not my Fiddlestick; and you are to know, that every one cannot make musick with my words which are fitted for my own mouth. And so my Scholer, you are to know, that as the ill pronunciation or ill accenting of a word in a Sermon spoiles it, so the ill carriage of your Line, or not fishing even to a foot in a right place, makes you lose your labour: and you are to know, that though you have my Fiddle, that is, my very Rod and Tacklings with which you see I catch fish, yet you have not my Fiddle stick, that is, skill to know how to carry your hand and line; and this must be taught you (for you are to remember I told you Angling is an Art) either by practice, or a long observation, or both.

But now lets say Grace, and fall to Breakfast; what say you Scholer, to the providence of an old Angler? Does not this meat taste well? And was not this place well chosen to eat it? for this Sycamore tree will shade us from the Suns heat.

Viat. All excellent good, Master, and my stomack excellent too; I have been at many costly Dinners that have not afforded me half this content: and now good Master, to your promised direction for making and ordering my Artificiall flye.

Pisc. My honest Scholer, I will do it, for it is a debt due unto you, by my promise: and because you shall not think your self more engaged to me then indeed you really are, therefore I will tell you freely, I find Mr. Thomas Barker (a Gentleman that has spent much time and money in Angling) deal so judicially and freely in a little book of his of Angling, and especially of making and Angling with a flye for a Trout, that I will give you his very directions without much variation, which shal follow.

Let your rod be light, and very gentle, I think the best are of two pieces; the line should not exceed, (especially for three or four links towards the hook) I say, not exceed three or four haires; but if you can attain to Angle with one haire; you will have more rises, and catch more fish. Now you must bee sure not to cumber yourselfe with too long a Line, as most do: and before you begin to angle, cast to have the wind on your back, and the Sun (if it shines) to be before you, and to fish down the streame, and carry the point or tip of the Rod downeward; by which meanes the shadow of yourselfe, and Rod too will be the least offensive to the Fish, for the sight of any shadow amazes the fish, and spoiles your sport, of which you must take a great care.

In the middle of March ('till which time a man should not in honestie catch a Trout) or in April, if the weather be dark, or a little windy, or cloudie, the best fishing is with the Palmer-worm, of which I last spoke to you; but of these there be divers kinds, or at least of divers colours, these and the May-fly are the ground of all fly-Angling, which are to be thus made:

First you must arm your hook, with the line in the inside of it; then take your Scissers and cut so much of a browne Malards feather as in your own reason wil make the wings of it, you having with all regard to the bigness or littleness of your hook, then lay the outmost part of your feather next to your hook, then the point of your feather next the shank of your hook; and having so done, whip it three or four times about the hook with the same Silk, with which your hook was armed, and having made the Silk fast, take the hackel of a Cock or Capons neck, or a Plovers top, which is usually better; take off the one side of the feather, and then take the hackel, Silk or Crewel, Gold or Silver thred, make these fast at the bent of the hook (that is to say, below your arming), then you must take the hackel, the silver or gold thred, and work it up to the wings, shifting or stil removing your fingers as you turn the Silk about the hook: and still looking at every stop or turne that your gold, or what materials soever you make your Fly of, do lye right and neatly; and if you find they do so, then when you have made the head, make all fast, and then work your hackel up to the head, and make that fast; and then with a needle or pin divide the wing into two, and then with the arming Silk whip it about crosswayes betwixt the wings, and then with your thumb you must turn the point of the feather towards the bent of the hook, and then work three or four times about the shank of the hook and then view the proportion, and if all be neat, and to your liking, fasten.

I confess, no direction can be given to make a man of a dull capacity able to make a flye well; and yet I know, this, with a little practice, wil help an ingenuous Angler in a good degree; but to see a fly made by another, is the best teaching to make it, and then an ingenuous Angler may walk by the River and mark what fly falls on the water that day, and catch one of them, if he see the Trouts leap at a fly of that kind, and having alwaies hooks ready hung with him, and having a bag also, alwaies with him with Bears hair, or the hair of a brown or sad coloured Heifer, hackels of a Cock or Capon, several coloured Silk and Crewel to make the body of the fly, the feathers of a Drakes head, black or brown sheeps wool, or Hogs wool, or hair, thred of Gold, and of silver; silk of several colours (especially sad coloured to make the head:) and there be also other colour'd feathers both of birds and of peckled fowl. I say, having those with him in a bag, and trying to make a flie, though he miss at first, yet shal he at last hit it better, even to a perfection which none can well teach him; and if he hit to make his flie right, and have the luck to hit also where there is store of trouts, and a right wind, he shall catch such store of them, as will encourage him to grow more and more in love with the Art of flie-making.

Viat. But my loving Master, if any wind will not serve, then I wish I were in Lapland, to buy a good wind of one of the honest witches, that sell so many winds, and so cheap.

Pisc. Marry Scholer, but I would not be there, nor indeed from under this tree; for look how it begins to rain, and by the clouds (if I mistake not) we shall presently have a smoaking showre; and therefore fit close, this Sycamore tree will shelter us; and I will tell you, as they shall come into my mind, more observations of flie-fishing for a Trout.

But first, for the Winde; you are to take notice that of the windes the South winde is said to be best. One observes, That

                 When the winde is south,
   It blows your bait into a fishes mouth.

Next to that, the west winde is believed to be the best: and having told you that the East winde is the worst, I need not tell you which winde is best in the third degree: And yet (as Solomon observes, that Hee that considers the winde shall never sow:) so hee that busies his head too much about them, (if the weather be not made extreme cold by an East winde) shall be a little superstitious: for as it is observed by some, That there is no good horse of a bad colour; so I have observed, that if it be a clowdy day, and not extreme cold, let the winde sit in what corner it will, and do its worst. And yet take this for a Rule, that I would willingly fish on the Lee-shore: and you are to take notice, that the Fish lies, or swimms neerer the bottom in Winter then in Summer, and also neerer the bottom in any cold day.

But I promised to tell you more of the Flie-fishing for a Trout, (which I may have time enough to do, for you see it rains May-utter). First for a May-flie, you may make his body with greenish coloured crewel, or willow colour; darkning it in most places, with waxed silk, or rib'd with a black hare, or some of them rib'd with silver thred; and such wings for the colour as you see the flie to have at that season; nay at that very day on the water. Or you may make the Oak-flie with an Orange-tawny and black ground, and the brown of a Mallards feather for the wings; and you are to know, that these two are most excellent flies, that is, the May-flie and the Oak-flie: And let me again tell you, that you keep as far from the water as you can possibly, whether you fish with a flie or worm, and fish down the stream; and when you fish with a flie, if it be possible, let no part of your line touch the water, but your flie only; and be stil moving your fly upon the water, or casting it into the water; you your self, being also alwaies moving down the stream. Mr. Barker commends severall sorts of the palmer flies, not only those rib'd with silver and gold, but others that have their bodies all made of black, or some with red, and a red hackel; you may also make the hawthorn-flie which is all black and not big, but very smal, the smaller the better; or the oak-fly, the body of which is Orange colour and black crewel, with a brown wing, or a fly made with a peacocks feather, is excellent in a bright day: you must be sure you want not in your Magazin bag, the Peacocks feather, and grounds of such wool, and crewel as will make the Grasshopper: and note, that usually, the smallest flies are best; and note also, that, the light flie does usually make most sport in a dark day: and the darkest and least flie in a bright or cleare day; and lastly note, that you are to repaire upon any occasion to your Magazin bag, and upon any occasion vary and make them according to your fancy.

And now I shall tell you, that the fishing with a naturall flie is excellent, and affords much pleasure; they may be found thus, the May-fly usually in and about that month neer to the River side, especially against rain; the Oak-fly on the Butt or body of an Oak or Ash, from the beginning of May to the end of August it is a brownish fly, and easie to be so found, and stands usually with his head downward, that is to say, towards the root of the tree, the small black fly, or hawthorn fly is to be had on any Hawthorn bush, after the leaves be come forth; with these and a short Line (as I shewed to Angle for a Chub) you may dap or dop, and also with a Grashopper, behind a tree, or in any deep hole, still making it to move on the top of the water, as if it were alive, and still keeping your self out of sight, you shall certainly have sport if there be Trouts; yea in a hot day, but especially in the evening of a hot day.

And now, Scholer, my direction for fly-fishing is ended with this showre, for it has done raining, and now look about you, and see how pleasantly that Meadow looks, nay and the earth smels as sweetly too. Come let me tell you what holy Mr. Herbert saies of such dayes and Flowers as these, and then we will thank God that we enjoy them, and walk to the River and sit down quietly and try to catch the other brace of Trouts.

   Sweet day, so cool, so calm, so bright,
   The bridal of the earth and skie,
   Sweet dews shal weep thy fall to night,
                         for thou must die.

   Sweet Rose, whose hew angry and brave
   Bids the rash gazer wipe his eye,
   Thy root is ever in its grave,
                       and thou must die.

   Sweet Spring, ful of sweet days & roses,
   A box where sweets compacted lie;
   My Musick shewes you have your closes,
                          and all must die.

   Only a sweet and vertuous soul,
   Like seasoned timber never gives,
   But when the whole world turns to cole,
                       then chiefly lives.

Viat. I thank you, good Master, for your good direction for fly-fishing, and for the sweet enjoyment of the pleasant day, which is so far spent without offence to God or man. And I thank you for the sweet close of your discourse with Mr. Herberts Verses, which I have heard, loved Angling; and I do the rather believe it, because he had a spirit sutable to Anglers, and to those Primitive Christians that you love, and have so much commended.

Pisc. Well, my loving Scholer, and I am pleased to know that you are so well pleased with my direction and discourse; and I hope you will be pleased too, if you find a Trout at one of our Angles, which we left in the water to fish for it self; you shall chuse which shall be yours, and it is an even lay, one catches; And let me tell you, this kind of fishing, and laying Night-hooks, are like putting money to use, for they both work for the Owners, when they do nothing but sleep, or eat, or rejoice, as you know we have done this last hour, and fate as quietly and as free from cares under this Sycamore, as Virgils Tityrus and his Melibaeus did under their broad Beech tree: No life, my honest Scholer, no life so happy and so pleasant as the Anglers, unless it be the Beggers life in Summer; for then only they take no care, but are as happy as we Anglers.

Viat. Indeed Master, and so they be, as is witnessed by the beggers Song, made long since by Frank Davison, a good Poet, who was not a Begger, though he were a good Poet.

Pisc. Can you sing it, Scholer?

Viat. Sit down a little, good Master, and I wil try.

     Bright shines the Sun, play beggers, play,
     here's scraps enough to serve to day:
   What noise of viols is so sweet
   As when our merry clappers ring?
   What mirth doth want when beggers meet?
   A beggers life is for a King:
     Eat, drink and play, sleep when we list,
     Go where we will so stocks be mist.
     Bright shines the Sun, play beggers, &c.

   The world is ours and ours alone,
   For we alone have world at will;
   We purchase not, all is our own,
   Both fields and streets we beggers fill:
     Play beggers play, play beggers play,
     here's scraps enough to serve to day.

   A hundred herds of black and white
   Upon our Gowns securely feed,
   And yet if any dare us bite,
   He dies therefore as sure as Creed:
     Thus beggers Lord it as they please,
     And only beggers live at ease:
     Bright shines the Sun, play beggers play,
     here's scraps enough to serve to day.

Pisc. I thank you good Scholer, this Song was well humor'd by the maker, and well remembred and sung by you; and I pray forget not the Ketch which you promised to make against night, for our Country man honest Coridon will expect your Ketch and my Song, which I must be forc'd to patch up, for it is so long since I learnt it, that I have forgot a part of it. But come, lets stretch our legs a little in a gentle walk to the River, and try what interest our Angles wil pay us for lending them so long to be used by the Trouts.

Viat. Oh me, look you Master, a fish, a fish.

Pisc. I marry Sir. that was a good fish indeed; if I had had the luck to have taken up that Rod, 'tis twenty to one he should not have broke my line by running to the Rods end, as you suffered him; I would have held him, unless he had been fellow to the great Trout that is neer an ell long, which had his picture drawne, and now to be seen at mine Hoste Rickabies at the George in Ware; and it may be, by giving that Trout the Rod, that is, by casting it to him into the water, I might have caught him at the long run, for so I use alwaies to do when I meet with an over-grown fish, and you will learn to do so hereafter; for I tell you, Scholer, fishing is an Art, or at least, it is an Art to catch fish.

Viat. But, Master, will this Trout die, for it is like he has the hook in his belly?

Pisc. I wil tel you, Scholer, that unless the hook be fast in his very Gorge, he wil live, and a little time with the help of the water, wil rust the hook, & it wil in time wear away as the gravel does in the horse hoof, which only leaves a false quarter.

And now Scholer, lets go to my Rod. Look you Scholer, I have a fish too, but it proves a logger-headed Chub; and this is not much a miss, for this wil pleasure some poor body, as we go to our lodging to meet our brother Peter and honest Coridon—Come, now bait your hook again, and lay it into the water, for it rains again, and we wil ev'n retire to the Sycamore tree, and there I wil give you more directions concerning fishing; for I would fain make you an Artist.

Viat. Yes, good Master, I pray let it be so.


Pisc. Wel, Scholer, now we are sate downe and are at ease, I shall tel you a little more of Trout fishing before I speak of the Salmon (which I purpose shall be next) and then of the Pike or Luce. You are to know, there is night as well as day-fishing for a Trout, and that then the best are out of their holds; and the manner of taking them is on the top of the water with a great Lob or Garden worm, or rather two; which you are to fish for in a place where the water runs somewhat quietly (for in a stream it wil not be so well discerned.) I say, in a quiet or dead place neer to some swift, there draw your bait over the top of the water to and fro, and if there be a good Trout in the hole, he wil take it, especially if the night be dark; for then he lies boldly neer the top of the water, watching the motion of any Frog or Water-mouse, or Rat betwixt him and the skie, which he hunts for if he sees the water but wrinkle or move in one of these dead holes, where the great Trouts usually lye neer to their hold.

And you must fish for him with a strong line, and not a little hook, and let him have time to gorge your hook, for he does not usually forsake it, as he oft will in the day-fishing: and if the night be not dark, then fish so with an Artificial fly of a light colour; nay he will sometimes rise at a dead Mouse or a piece of cloth, or any thing that seemes to swim cross the water, or to be in motion: this is a choice way, but I have not oft used it because it is void of the pleasures that such dayes as these that we now injoy, afford an Angler.

And you are to know, that in Hamp-shire, (which I think exceeds all England for pleasant Brooks, and store of Trouts) they use to catch Trouts in the night by the light of a Torch or straw, which when they have discovered, they strike with a Trout spear; this kind of way they catch many, but I would not believe it till I was an eye-witness of it, nor like it now I have seen it.

Viat. But Master, do not Trouts see us in the night?

Pisc. Yes, and hear, and smel too, both then and in the day time, for Gesner observes, the Otter smels a fish forty furlong off him in the water; and that it may be true, is affirmed by Sir Francis Bacon (in the eighth Century of his Natural History) who there proves, that waters may be the Medium of sounds, by demonstrating it thus, That if you knock two stones together very deep under the water, those that stand on a bank neer to that place may hear the noise without any diminution of it by the water. He also offers the like experiment concerning the letting an Anchor fall by a very long Cable or rope on a Rock, or the sand within the Sea: and this being so wel observed and demonstrated, as it is by that learned man, has made me to believe that Eeles unbed themselves, and stir at the noise of the Thunder, and not only as some think, by the motion or the stirring of the earth, which is occasioned by that Thunder.

And this reason of Sir Francis Bacons [Exper. 792] has made me crave pardon of one that I laught at, for affirming that he knew Carps come to a certain place in a Pond to be fed at the ringing of a Bel; and it shall be a rule for me to make as little noise as I can when I am a fishing, until Sir Francis Bacon be confuted, which I shal give any man leave to do, and so leave off this Philosophical discourse for a discourse of fishing.

Of which my next shall be to tell you, it is certain, that certain fields neer Lemster, a Town in Herefordshire, are observed, that they make the Sheep that graze upon them more fat then the next, and also to bear finer Wool; that is to say, that that year in which they feed in such a particular pasture, they shall yeeld finer wool then the yeer before they came to feed in it, and courser again if they shall return to their former pasture, and again return to a finer wool being fed in the fine wool ground. Which I tell you, that you may the better believe that I am certain, If I catch a Trout in one Meadow, he shall be white and faint and very like to be lowsie; and as certainly if I catch a Trout in the next Meadow, he shal be strong, and red, and lusty, and much better meat: Trust me (Scholer) I have caught many a Trout in a particular Meadow, that the very shape and inamelled colour of him, has joyed me to look upon him, and I have with Solomon concluded, Every thing is beautifull in his season.

It is now time to tell you next, (according to promise) some observations of the Salmon; But first, I wil tel you there is a fish, called by some an Umber, and by some a Greyling, a choice fish, esteemed by many to be equally good with the Trout: it is a fish that is usually about eighteen inches long, he lives in such streams as the Trout does; and is indeed taken with the same bait as a Trout is, for he will bite both at the Minnow, the Worm, and the Fly, both Natural and Artificial: of this fish there be many in Trent, and in the River that runs by Salisbury, and in some other lesser Brooks; but he is not so general a fish as the Trout, nor to me either so good to eat, or so pleasant to fish for as the Trout is; of which two fishes I will now take my leave, and come to my promised Observations of the Salmon, and a little advice for the catching him.


The Salmon is ever bred in the fresh Rivers (and in most Rivers about the month of August) and never grows big but in the Sea; and there to an incredible bigness in a very short time; to which place they covet to swim, by the instinct of nature, about a set time: but if they be stopp'd by Mills, Floud-gates or Weirs, or be by accident lost in the fresh water, when the others go (which is usually by flocks or sholes) then they thrive not.

And the old Salmon, both the Melter and Spawner, strive also to get into the Sea before Winter; but being stopt that course, or lost; grow sick in fresh waters, and by degrees unseasonable, and kipper, that is, to have a bony gristle, to grow (not unlike a Hauks beak) on one of his chaps, which hinders him from feeding, and then he pines and dies.

But if he gets to Sea, then that gristle wears away, or is cast off (as the Eagle is said to cast his bill) and he recovers his strength, and comes next Summer to the same River, (if it be possible) to enjoy the former pleasures that there possest him; for (as one has wittily observed) he has (like some persons of Honour and Riches, which have both their winter and Summer houses) the fresh Rivers for Summer, and the salt water for winter to spend his life in; which is not (as Sir Francis Bacon hath observed) [in his History of Life and Death] above ten years: And it is to be observed, that though they grow big in the Sea, yet they grow not fat but in fresh Rivers; and it is observed, that the farther they get from the Sea, the better they be.

And it is observed, that, to the end they may get far from the Sea, either to Spawne or to possess the pleasure that they then and there find, they will force themselves over the tops of Weirs, or Hedges, or stops in the water, by taking their tails into their mouthes, and leaping over those places, even to a height beyond common belief: and sometimes by forcing themselves against the streame through Sluces and Floud-gates, beyond common credit. And 'tis observed by Gesner, that there is none bigger then in England, nor none better then in Thames.

And for the Salmons sudden growth, it has been observed by tying a Ribon in the tail of some number of the young Salmons, which have been taken in Weires, as they swimm'd towards the salt water, and then by taking a part of them again with the same mark, at the same place, at their returne from the Sea, which is usually about six months after; and the like experiment hath been tried upon young Swallows, who have after six months absence, been observed to return to the same chimney, there to make their nests, and their habitations for the Summer following; which hath inclined many to think, that every Salmon usually returns to the same River in which it was bred, as young Pigeons taken out of the same Dove-cote, have also been observed to do.

And you are yet to observe further, that the He Salmon is usually bigger then the Spawner, and that he is more kipper, & less able to endure a winter in the fresh water, then the She is; yet she is at that time of looking less kipper and better, as watry and as bad meat.

And yet you are to observe, that as there is no general rule without an exception, so there is some few Rivers in this Nation that have Trouts and Salmon in season in winter. But for the observations of that and many other things, I must in manners omit, because they wil prove too large for our narrow compass of time, and therefore I shall next fall upon my direction how to fish for the Salmon.

And for that, first, you shall observe, that usually he staies not long in a place (as Trouts wil) but (as I said) covets still to go neerer the Spring head; and that he does not (as the Trout and many other fish) lie neer the water side or bank, or roots of trees, but swims usually in the middle, and neer the ground; and that there you are to fish for him; and that he is to be caught as the Trout is, with a Worm, a Minnow, (which some call a Penke) or with a Fly.

And you are to observe, that he is very, very seldom observed to bite at a Minnow (yet sometime he will) and not oft at a fly, but more usually at a Worm, and then most usually at a Lob or Garden worm, which should be wel scowred, that is to say, seven or eight dayes in Moss before you fish with them; and if you double your time of eight into sixteen, or more, into twenty or more days, it is still the better, for the worms will stil be clearer, tougher, and more lively, and continue so longer upon your hook.

And now I shall tell you, that which may be called a secret: I have been a fishing with old Oliver Henly (now with God) a noted Fisher, both for Trout and Salmon, and have observed that he would usually take three or four worms out of his bag and put them into a little box in his pocket, where he would usually let them continue half an hour or more, before he would bait his hook with them; I have ask'd him his reason, and he has replied, He did but pick the best out to be in a readiness against he baited his hook the next time: But he has been observed both by others, and my self, to catch more fish then I or any other body, that has ever gone a fishing with him, could do, especially Salmons; and I have been told lately by one of his most intimate and secret friends, that the box in which he put those worms was anointed with a drop, or two, or three of the Oil of Ivy-berries, made by expression or infusion, and that by the wormes remaining in that box an hour, or a like time, they had incorporated a kind of smel that was irresistibly attractive, enough to force any fish, within the smel of them, to bite. This I heard not long since from a friend, but have not tryed it; yet I grant it probable, and refer my Reader to Sir Francis Bacons Natural History, where he proves fishes may hear; and I am certain Gesner sayes, the Otter can smell in the water, and know not that but fish may do so too: 'tis left for a lover of Angling, or any that desires to improve that Art, to try this conclusion.

I shall also impart another experiment (but not tryed by my selfe) which I wil deliver in the same words as it was by a friend, given me in writing.

Take the stinking oil drawn out of Poly pody of the Oak, by a retort mixt with Turpentine, and Hive-honey, and annoint your bait therewith, and it will doubtlesse draw the fish to it.

But in these things I have no great faith, yet grant it probable, and have had from some chemical men (namely, from Sir George Hastings and others) an affirmation of them to be very advantageous: but no more of these, especially not in this place.

I might here, before I take my leave of the Salmon, tell you, that there is more then one sort of them, as namely, a Tecon, and another called in some places a Samlet, or by some, a Skegger: but these (and others which I forbear to name) may be fish of another kind, and differ, as we know a Herring and a Pilcher do; but must by me be left to the disquisitions of men of more leisure and of greater abilities, then I profess myself to have.

And lastly, I am to borrow so much of your promised patience, as to tell you, that the Trout or Salmon, being in season, have at their first taking out of the water (which continues during life) their bodies adorned, the one with such red spots, and the other with black or blackish spots, which gives them such an addition of natural beautie, as I (that yet am no enemy to it) think was never given to any woman by the Artificial Paint or Patches in which they so much pride themselves in this age. And so I shall leave them and proceed to some Observations of the Pike.


Pisc. It is not to be doubted but that the Luce, or Pikrell, or Pike breeds by Spawning; and yet Gesner sayes, that some of them breed, where none ever was, out of a weed called Pikrell-weed, and other glutinous matter, which with the help of the Suns heat proves in some particular ponds (apted by nature for it) to become Pikes.

Sir Francis Bacon [in his History of Life and Death] observes the Pike to be the longest lived of any fresh water fish, and yet that his life is not usually above fortie years; and yet Gesner mentions a Pike taken in Swedeland in the year 1449, with a Ring about his neck, declaring he was put into the Pond by Frederick the second, more then two hundred years before he was last taken, as the Inscription of that Ring, being Greek, was interpreted by the then Bishop of Worms. But of this no more, but that it is observed that the old or very great Pikes have in them more of state then goodness; the smaller or middle siz'd Pikes being by the most and choicest palates observed to be the best meat; but contrary, the Eele is observed to be the better for age and bigness.

All Pikes that live long prove chargeable to their keepers, because their life is maintained by the death of so many other fish, even those of his owne kind, which has made him by some Writers to bee called the Tyrant of the Rivers, or the Fresh water-wolf, by reason of his bold, greedy, devouring disposition; which is so keen, as Gesner relates, a man going to a Pond (where it seems a Pike had devoured all the fish) to water his Mule, had a Pike bit his Mule by the lips, to which the Pike hung so fast, that the Mule drew him out of the water, and by that accident the owner of the Mule got the Pike; I tell you who relates it, and shall with it tel you what a wise man has observed, it is a hard thing to perswade the belly, because it hath no ears.

But if this relation of Gesners bee dis-believed, it is too evident to bee doubted that a Pike will devoure a fish of his own kind, that shall be bigger then this belly or throat will receive; and swallow a part of him, and let the other part remaine in his mouth till the swallowed part be digested, and then swallow that other part that was in his mouth, and so put it over by degrees. And it is observed, that the Pike will eat venemous things (as some kind of Frogs are) and yet live without being harmed by them: for, as some say, he has in him a natural Balsome or Antidote against all Poison: and others, that he never eats a venemous Frog till he hath first killed her, and then (as Ducks are observed to do to Frogs in Spawning time, at which time some Frogs are observed to be venemous) so throughly washt her, by tumbling her up and down in the water, that he may devour her without danger. And Gesner affirms, that a Polonian Gentleman did faithfully assure him, he had seen two young Geese at one time in the belly of a Pike: and hee observes, that in Spain there is no Pikes, and that the biggest are in the Lake Thracimane in Italy, and the next, if not equal to them, are the Pikes of England.

The Pike is also observed to be a melancholly, and a bold fish: Melancholly, because he alwaies swims or rests himselfe alone, and never swims in sholes, or with company, as Roach, and Dace, and most other fish do: And bold, because he fears not a shadow, or to see or be seen of any body, as the Trout and Chub, and all other fish do.

And it is observed by Gesner, that the bones, and hearts, & gals of Pikes are very medicinable for several Diseases, as to stop bloud, to abate Fevers, to cure Agues, to oppose or expel the infection of the Plague, and to be many wayes medicinable and useful for the good of mankind; but that the biting of a Pike is venemous and hard to be cured.

And it is observed, that the Pike is a fish that breeds but once a year, and that other fish (as namely Loaches) do breed oftner; as we are certaine Pigeons do almost every month, and yet the Hawk, a bird of prey (as the Pike is of fish) breeds but once in twelve months: and you are to note, that his time of breeding or Spawning is usually about the end of February; or somewhat later, in March, as the weather proves colder or warmer: and to note, that his manner of breeding is thus, a He and a She Pike will usually go together out of a River into some ditch or creek, and that there the Spawner casts her eggs, and the Melter hovers over her all that time that she is casting her Spawn, but touches her not. I might say more of this, but it might be thought curiosity or worse, and shall therefore forbear it, and take up so much of your attention as to tell you that the best of Pikes are noted to be in Rivers, then those in great Ponds or Meres, and the worst in smal Ponds.

And now I shall proceed to give you some directions how to catch this Pike, which you have with so much patience heard me talk of.

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His feeding is usually fish or frogs, and sometime a weed of his owne, called Pikrel-weed, of which I told you some think some Pikes are bred; for they have observed, that where no Pikes have been put into a Pond, yet that there they have been found, and that there has been plenty of that weed in that Pond, and that that weed both breeds and feeds them; but whether those Pikes so bred will ever breed by generation as the others do, I shall leave to the disquisitions of men of more curiosity and leisure then I profess my self to have; and shall proceed to tell you, that you may fish for a Pike, either with a ledger, or a walking-bait; and you are to note, that I call that a ledger which is fix'd, or made to rest in one certaine place when you shall be absent; and that I call that a walking bait, which you take with you, and have ever in motion. Concerning which two, I shall give you this direction, That your ledger bait is best to be a living bait, whether it be a fish or a Frog; and that you may make them live the longer, you may, or indeed you must take this course:

First, for your live bait of fish, a Roch or Dace is (I think) best and most tempting, and a Pearch the longest liv'd on a hook; you must take your knife, (which cannot be too sharp) and betwixt the head and the fin on his back, cut or make an insition, or such a scar as you may put the arming wyer of your hook into it, with as little bruising or hurting the fish as Art and diligence will enable you to do, and so carrying your arming wyer along his back, unto, or neer the tail of your fish, betwixt the skin and the body of it, draw out that wyer or arming of your hook at another scar neer to his tail; then tye him about it with thred, but no harder then of necessitie you must to prevent hurting the fish; and the better to avoid hurting the fish, some have a kind of probe to open the way, for the more easie entrance and passage of your wyer or arming: but as for these, time and a little experience will teach you better then I can by words; for of this I will for the present say no more, but come next to give you some directions how to bait your hook with a Frog.

Viat. But, good Master, did not you say even now, that some Frogs were venemous, and is it not dangerous to touch them?

Pisc. Yes, but I wil give you some Rules or Cautions concerning them: And first, you are to note, there is two kinds of Frogs; that is to say, (if I may so express my self) a flesh and a fish-frog: by flesh frogs, I mean, frogs that breed and live on the land; and of these there be several sorts and colours, some being peckled, some greenish, some blackish, or brown: the green Frog, which is a smal one, is by Topsell taken to be venemous; and so is the Padock, or Frog-Padock, which usually keeps or breeds on the land, and is very large and bony, and big, especially the She frog of that kind; yet these wil sometime come into the water, but it is not often; and the land frogs are some of them observed by him, to breed by laying eggs, and others to breed of the slime and dust of the earth, and that in winter they turn to slime again, and that the next Summer that very slime returns to be a living creature; this is the opinion of Pliny: and [in his 16th Book De subtil. ex.] Cardanus undertakes to give reason for the raining of Frogs; but if it were in my power, it should rain none but water Frogs, for those I think are not venemous, especially the right water Frog, which about February or March breeds in ditches by slime and blackish eggs in that slime, about which time of breeding the He and She frog are observed to use divers simber salts, and to croke and make a noise, which the land frog, or Padock frog never does. Now of these water Frogs, you are to chuse the yellowest that you can get, for that the Pike ever likes best. And thus use your Frog, that he may continue long alive:

Put your hook into his mouth, which you may easily do from about the middle of April till August, and then the Frogs mouth grows up and he continues so for at least six months without eating, but is sustained, none, but he whose name is Wonderful, knows how. I say, put your hook, I mean the arming wire, through his mouth and out at his gills, and then with a fine needle and Silk sow the upper part of his leg with only one stitch to the armed wire of your hook, or tie the frogs leg above the upper joint to the armed wire, and in so doing use him as though you loved him, that is, harme him as little as you may possibly, that he may live the longer.

And now, having given you this direction for the baiting your ledger hook with a live fish or frog, my next must be to tell you, how your hook thus baited must or may be used; and it is thus: Having fastned your hook to a line, which if it be not fourteen yards long, should not be less then twelve; you are to fasten that line to any bow neer to a hole where a Pike is, or is likely to lye, or to have a haunt, and then wind your line on any forked stick, all your line, except a half yard of it, or rather more, and split that forked stick with such a nick or notch at one end of it, as may keep the line from any more of it ravelling from about the stick, then so much of it as you intended; and chuse your forked stick to be of that bigness as may keep the fish or frog from pulling the forked stick under the water till the Pike bites, and then the Pike having pulled the line forth of the clift or nick in which it was gently fastened, will have line enough to go to his hold and powch the bait: and if you would have this ledger bait to keep at a fixt place, undisturbed by wind or other accidents which may drive it to the shoare side (for you are to note that it is likeliest to catch a Pike in the midst of the water) then hang a small Plummet of lead, a stone, or piece of tyle, or a turfe in a string, and cast it into the water, with the forked stick to hang upon the ground, to be as an Anchor to keep the forked stick from moving out of your intended place till the Pike come. This I take to be a very good way, to use so many ledger baits as you intend to make tryal of.

Or if you bait your hooks thus, with live fish or Frogs, and in a windy day fasten them thus to a bow or bundle of straw, and by the help of that wind can get them to move cross a Pond or Mere, you are like to stand still on the shoar and see sport, if there be any store of Pikes; or these live baits may make sport, being tied about the body or wings of a Goose or Duck, and she chased over a Pond: and the like may be done with turning three or four live baits thus fastened to bladders, or boughs, or bottles of hay, or flags, to swim down a River, whilst you walk quietly on the shore along with them, and are still in expectation of sport. The rest must be taught you by practice, for time will not alow me to say more of this kind of fishing with live baits.

And for your dead bait for a Pike, for that you may be taught by one dayes going a fishing with me or any other body that fishes for him, for the baiting your hook with a dead Gudgion or a Roch, and moving it up and down the water, is too easie a thing to take up any time to direct you to do it; and yet, because I cut you short in that, I will commute for it, by telling you that that was told me for a secret: it is this:

Dissolve Gum of Ivie in Oyle of Spike, and therewith annoint your dead bait for a Pike, and then cast it into a likely place, and when it has layen a short time at the bottom, draw it towards the top of the water, and so up the stream, and it is more then likely that you have a Pike follow you with more then common eagerness.

This has not been tryed by me, but told me by a friend of note, that pretended to do me a courtesie: but if this direction to catch a Pike thus do you no good, I am certaine this direction how to roste him when he is caught, is choicely good, for I have tryed it, and it is somewhat the better for not being common; but with my direction you must take this Caution, that your Pike must not be a smal one.

First open your Pike at the gills, and if need be, cut also a little slit towards his belly; out of these, take his guts, and keep his liver, which you are to shred very small with Time, Sweet Margerom, and a little Winter-Savoury; to these put some pickled Oysters, and some Anchovis, both these last whole (for the Anchovis will melt, and the Oysters should not) to these you must add also a pound of sweet Butter, which you are to mix with the herbs that are shred, and let them all be well salted (if the Pike be more then a yard long, then you may put into these herbs more then a pound, or if he be less, then less Butter will suffice:) these being thus mixt, with a blade or two of Mace, must be put into the Pikes belly, and then his belly sowed up; then you are to thrust the spit through his mouth out at his tail; and then with four, or five, or six split sticks or very thin laths, and a convenient quantitie of tape or filiting, these laths are to be tyed roundabout the Pikes body, from his head to his tail, and the tape tied somewhat thick to prevent his breaking or falling off from the spit; let him be rosted very leisurely, and often basted with Claret wine, and Anchovis, and butter mixt together, and also with what moisture falls from him into the pan: when you have rosted him sufficiently, you are to hold under him (when you unwind or cut the tape that ties him) such a dish as you purpose to eat him out of, and let him fall into it with the sawce that is rosted in his belly; and by this means the Pike will be kept unbroken and complete; then to the sawce, which was within him, and also in the pan, you are to add a fit quantity of the best butter, and to squeeze the juice of three or four Oranges: lastly, you may either put into the Pike with the Oysters, two cloves of Garlick, and take it whole out when the Pike is cut off the spit, or to give the sawce a hogoe, let the dish (into which you let the Pike fall) be rubed with it; the using or not using of this Garlick is left to your discretion. This dish of meat is too good for any but Anglers or honest men; and, I trust, you wil prove both, and therefore I have trusted you with this Secret. And now I shall proceed to give you some Observations concerning the Carp.


Pisc. The Carp is a stately, a good, and a subtle fish, a fish that hath not (as it is said) been long in England, but said to be by one Mr. Mascall (a Gentleman then living at Plumsted in Sussex) brought into this Nation: and for the better confirmation of this, you are to remember I told you that Gesner sayes, there is not a Pike in Spain, and that except the Eele, which lives longest out of the water, there is none that will endure more hardness, or live longer then a Carp will out of it, and so the report of his being brought out of a forrain Nation into this, is the more probable.

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Carps and Loches are observed to breed several months in one year, which most other fish do not, and it is the rather believed, because you shall scarce or never take a Male Carp without a Melt, or a Female without a Roe or Spawn; and for the most part very much, and especially all the Summer season; and it is observed, that they breed more naturally in Ponds then in running waters, and that those that live in Rivers are taken by men of the best palates to be much the better meat.

And it is observed, that in some Ponds Carps will not breed, especially in cold Ponds; but where they will breed, they breed innumerably, if there be no Pikes nor Pearch to devour their Spawn, when it is cast upon grass, or flags, or weeds, where it lies ten or twelve dayes before it be enlivened.

The Carp, if he have water room and good feed, will grow to a very great bigness and length: I have heard, to above a yard long; though I never saw one above thirty three inches, which was a very great and goodly fish.

Now as the increase of Carps is wonderful for their number; so there is not a reason found out, I think, by any, why the should breed in some Ponds, and not in others of the same nature, for soil and all other circumstances; and as their breeding, so are their decayes also very mysterious; I have both read it, and been told by a Gentleman of tryed honestie, that he has knowne sixtie or more large Carps put into several Ponds neer to a house, where by reason of the stakes in the Ponds, and the Owners constant being neer to them, it was impossible they should be stole away from him, and that when he has after three or four years emptied the Pond, and expected an increase from them by breeding young ones (for that they might do so, he had, as the rule is, put in three Melters for one Spawner) he has, I say, after three or four years found neither a young nor old Carp remaining: And the like I have known of one that has almost watched his Pond, and at a like distance of time at the fishing of a Pond, found of seventy or eighty large Carps, not above five or six: and that he had forborn longer to fish the said Pond, but that he saw in a hot day in Summer, a large Carp swim neer to the top of the water with a Frog upon his head, and that he upon that occasion caused his Pond to be let dry: and I say, of seventie or eighty Carps, only found five or six in the said Pond, and those very sick and lean, and with every one a Frog sticking so fast on the head of the said Carps, that the Frog would not bee got off without extreme force or killing, and the Gentleman that did affirm this to me he saw it, and did declare his belief to be (and I also believe the same) that he thought the other Carps that were so strangely lost, were so killed by Frogs, and then devoured.

But I am faln into this discourse by accident, of which I might say more, but it has proved longer then I intended, and possibly may not to you be considerable; I shall therefore give you three or four more short observations of the Carp, and then fall upon some directions how you shall fish for him.

The age of Carps is by S. Francis Bacon (in his History of Life and Death) observed to be but ten years; yet others think they live longer: but most conclude, that (contrary to the Pike or Luce) all Carps are the better for age and bigness; the tongues of Carps are noted to be choice and costly meat, especially to them that buy them; but Gesner sayes, Carps have no tongues like other fish, but a piece of flesh-like-fish in their mouth like to a tongue, and may be so called, but it is certain it is choicely good, and that the Carp is to be reckoned amongst those leather mouthed fish, which I told you have their teeth in their throat, and for that reason he is very seldome lost by breaking his hold, if your hook bee once stuck into his chaps.

I told you, that Sir Francis Bacon thinks that the Carp lives but ten years; but Janus Dubravius (a Germane as I think) has writ a book in Latine of Fish and Fish Ponds, in which he sayes, that Carps begin to Spawn at the age of three yeers, and continue to do so till thirty; he sayes also, that in the time of their breeding, which is in Summer when the Sun hath warmed both the earth and water, and so apted them also for generation, that then three or four Male Carps will follow a Female, and that then she putting on a seeming coyness, they force her through weeds and flags, where she lets fall her eggs or Spawn, which sticks fast to the weeds, and then they let fall their Melt upon it, and so it becomes in a short time to be a living fish; and, as I told you, it is thought the Carp does this several months in the yeer, and most believe that most fish breed after this manner, except the Eele: and it is thought that all Carps are not bred by generation, but that some breed otherwayes, as some Pikes do.

Much more might be said out of him, and out of Aristotle, which Dubravius often quotes in his Discourse, but it might rather perplex then satisfie you, and therefore I shall rather chuse to direct you how to catch, then spend more time discoursing either of the nature or the breeding of this Carp, or of any more circumstances concerning him, but yet I shall remember you of what I told you before, that he is a very subtle fish and hard to be caught.

And my first directon is, that if you will fish for a Carp, you must put on a very large measure of patience, especially to fish for a River Carp: I have knowne a very good Fisher angle diligently four or six hours in a day, for three or four dayes together for a River Carp, and not have a bite: and you are to note, that in some Ponds it is as hard to catch a Carp as in a River; that is to say, where they have store of feed, & the water is of a clayish colour; but you are to remember, that I have told you there is no rule without an exception, and therefore being possest with that hope and patience which I wish to all Fishers, especially to the Carp-Angler, I shall tell you with what bait to fish for him; but that must be either early or late, and let me tell you, that in hot weather (for he will seldome bite in cold) you cannot bee too early or too late at it.

The Carp bites either at wormes or at Paste; and of worms I think the blewish Marsh or Meadow worm is best; but possibly another worm not too big may do as well, and so may a Gentle: and as for Pastes, there are almost as many sorts as there are Medicines for the Toothach, but doubtless sweet Pastes are best; I mean, Pastes mixt with honey, or with Sugar; which, that you may the better beguile this crafty fish, should be thrown into the Pond or place in which you fish for him some hours before you undertake your tryal of skil by the Angle-Rod: and doubtless, if it be thrown into the water a day or two before, at several times, and in smal pellets, you are the likelier when you fish for the Carp, to obtain your desired sport: or in a large Pond, to draw them to any certain place, that they may the better and with more hope be fished for: you are to throw into it, in some certaine place, either grains, or bloud mixt with Cow-dung, or with bran; or any Garbage, as Chickens guts or the like, and then some of your smal sweet pellets, with which you purpose to angle; these smal pellets, being few of them thrown in as you are Angling.

And your Paste must bee thus made: Take the flesh of a Rabet or Cat cut smal, and Bean-flower, or (if not easily got then) other flowre, and then mix these together, and put to them either Sugar, or Honey, which I think better, and then beat these together in a Mortar; or sometimes work them in your hands, (your hands being very clean) and then make it into a ball, or two, or three, as you like best for your use: but you must work or pound it so long in the Mortar, as to make it so tough as to hang upon your hook without washing from it, yet not too hard; or that you may the better keep it on your hook, you may kneade with your Paste a little (and not much) white or yellowish wool.

And if you would have this Paste keep all the year for any other fish, then mix with it Virgins-wax and clarified honey, and work them together with your hands before the fire; then make these into balls, and it will keep all the yeer.

And if you fish for a Carp with Gentles, then put upon your hook a small piece of Scarlet about this bigness {breadth of two letters}, it being soked in, or anointed with Oyl of Peter, called by some, Oyl of the Rock; and if your Gentles be put two or three dayes before into a box or horn anointed with Honey, and so put upon your hook, as to preserve them to be living, you are as like to kill this craftie fish this way as any other; but still as you are fishing, chaw a little white or brown bread in your mouth, and cast it into the Pond about the place where your flote swims. Other baits there be, but these with diligence, and patient watchfulness, will do it as well as any as I have ever practised, or heard of: and yet I shall tell you, that the crumbs of white bread and honey made into a Paste, is a good bait for a Carp, and you know it is more easily made. And having said thus much of the Carp, my next discourse shal be of the Bream, which shall not prove so tedious, and therefore I desire the continuance of your attention.


Pisc. The Bream being at a full growth, is a large and stately fish, he will breed both in Rivers and Ponds, but loves best to live in Ponds, where, if he likes the aire, he will grow not only to be very large, but as fat as a Hog: he is by Gesner taken to be more pleasant or sweet then wholesome; this fish is long in growing, but breeds exceedingly in a water that pleases him, yea, in many Ponds so fast, as to over store them, and starve the other fish.

The Baits good for to catch the Bream are many; as namely, young Wasps, and a Paste made of brown bread and honey, or Gentels, or especially a worm, a worm that is not much unlike a Magot, which you will find at the roots of Docks, or of Flags, or of Rushes that grow in the water, or watry places, and a Grashopper having his legs nip'd off, or a flye that is in June and July to be found amongst the green Reed, growing by the water side, those are said to bee excellent baits. I doubt not but there be many others that both the Bream and the Carp also would bite at; but these time and experience will teach you how to find out: And so having according to my promise given you these short Observations concerning the Bream, I shall also give you some Observations concerning the Tench, and those also very briefly.

The Tench is observed to love to live in Ponds; but if he be in a River, then in the still places of the River, he is observed to be a Physician to other fishes, and is so called by many that have been searchers into the nature of fish; and it is said, that a Pike will neither devour nor hurt him, because the Pike being sick or hurt by any accident, is cured by touching the Tench, and the Tench does the like to other fishes, either by touching them, or by being in their company.

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Randelitius sayes in his discourse of fishes (quoted by Gesner) that at his being at Rome, he saw certaine Jewes apply Tenches to the feet of a sick man for a cure; and it is observed, that many of those people have many Secrets unknown to Christians, secrets which have never been written, but have been successsively since the dayes of Solomon (who knew the nature of all things from the Shrub to the Cedar) delivered by tradition from the father to the son, and so from generation to generation without writing, or (unless it were casually) without the least communicating them to any other Nation or Tribe (for to do so, they account a profanation): yet this fish, that does by a natural inbred Balsome, not only cure himselfe if he be wounded, but others also, loves not to live in clear streams paved with gravel, but in standing waters, where mud and the worst of weeds abound, and therefore it is, I think, that this Tench is by so many accounted better for Medicines then for meat: but for the first, I am able to say little; and for the later, can say positively, that he eats pleasantly; and will therefore give you a few, and but a few directions how to catch him.

He will bite at a Paste made of brown bread and honey, or at a Marsh-worm, or a Lob-worm; he will bite also at a smaller worm, with his head nip'd off, and a Cod-worm put on the hook before the worm; and I doubt not but that he will also in the three hot months (for in the nine colder he stirs not much) bite at a Flag-worm, or at a green Gentle, but can positively say no more of the Tench, he being a fish that I have not often Angled for; but I wish my honest Scholer may, and be ever fortunate when hee fishes.

Viat. I thank you good Master: but I pray Sir, since you see it still rains May butter, give me some observations and directions concerning the Pearch, for they say he is both a very good and a bold biting fish, and I would faine learne to fish for him.

Pisc. You say true, Scholer, the Pearch is a very good, and a very bold biting fish, he is one of the fishes of prey, that, like the Pike and Trout, carries his teeth in his mouth, not in his throat, and dare venture to kill and devour another fish; this fish, and the Pike are (sayes Gesner) the best of fresh water fish; he Spawns but once a year, and is by Physicians held very nutritive; yet by many to be hard of digestion: They abound more in the River Poe, and in England, (sayes Randelitius) then other parts, and have in their brain a stone, which is in forrain parts sold by Apothecaries, being there noted to be very medicinable against the stone in the reins: These be a part of the commendations which some Philosophycal brain have bestowed upon the fresh-water Pearch, yet they commend the Sea Pearch, which is known by having but one fin on his back, (of which they say, we English see but a few) to be a much better fish.

The Pearch grows slowly, yet will grow, as I have been credibly informed, to be almost two foot long; for my Informer told me, such a one was not long since taken by Sir Abraham Williams, a Gentleman of worth, and a lover of Angling, that yet lives, and I wish he may: this was a deep bodied fish; and doubtless durst have devoured a Pike of half his own length; for I have told you, he is a bold fish, such a one, as but for extreme hunger, the Pike will not devour; for to affright the Pike, the Pearch will set up his fins, much like as a Turkie-Cock wil sometimes set up his tail.

But, my Scholer, the Pearch is not only valiant to defend himself, but he is (as you said) a bold biting fish, yet he will not bite at all seasons of the yeer; he is very abstemious in Winter; and hath been observed by some, not usually to bite till the Mulberry tree buds, that is to say, till extreme Frosts be past for that Spring; for when the Mulberry tree blossomes, many Gardners observe their forward fruit to be past the danger of Frosts, and some have made the like observation of the Pearches biting.

But bite the Pearch will, and that very boldly, and as one has wittily observed, if there be twentie or fortie in a hole, they may be at one standing all catch'd one after another; they being, as he saies, like the wicked of the world, not afraid, though their fellowes and companions perish in their sight. And the baits for this bold fish are not many; I mean, he will bite as well at some, or at any of these three, as at any or all others whatsoever; a Worm, a Minnow, or a little Frog (of which you may find many in hay time) and of worms, the Dunghill worm, called a brandling, I take to be best, being well scowred in Moss or Fennel; and if you fish for a Pearch with a Minnow, then it is best to be alive, you sticking your hook through his back fin, and letting him swim up and down about mid-water, or a little lower, and you still keeping him to about that depth, by a Cork, which ought not to be a very light one: and the like way you are to fish for the Pearch with a small Frog, your hook being fastened through the skin of his leg, towards the upper part of it: And lastly, I will give you but this advise, that you give the Pearch time enough when he bites, for there was scarse ever any Angler that has given him too much. And now I think best to rest my selfe, for I have almost spent my spirits with talking so long.

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Viat. Nay, good Master, one fish more, for you see it rains still, and you know our Angles are like money put to usury; they may thrive though we sit still and do nothing, but talk & enjoy one another. Come, come the other fish, good Master.

Pisc. But Scholer, have you nothing to mix with this Discourse, which now grows both tedious and tiresome? Shall I have nothing from you that seems to have both a good memorie, and a cheerful Spirit?

Viat. Yes, Master, I will speak you a Coppie of Verses that were made by Doctor Donne, and made to shew the world that hee could make soft and smooth Verses, when he thought them fit and worth his labour; and I love them the better, because they allude to Rivers, and fish, and fishing. They bee these:

   Come live with me, and be my love,
   And we will some new pleasures prove,
   Of golden sands, and Christal brooks,
   With silken lines and silver hooks.

   There will the River wispering run,
   Warm'd by thy eyes more then the Sun;
   And there th'inamel'd fish wil stay,
   Begging themselves they may betray.

   When thou wilt swim in that live bath,
   Each fish, which every channel hath
   Most amorously to thee will swim,
   Gladder to catch thee, then thou him.

   If thou, to be so seen, beest loath
   By Sun or Moon, thou darknest both;
   And, if mine eyes have leave to see,
   I need not their light, having thee.

   Let others freeze with Angling Reeds,
   And cut their legs with shels & weeds,
   Or treacherously poor fish beset,
   With strangling snares, or windowy net.

   Let coarse bold hands, from slimy nest,
   The bedded fish in banks outwrest,
   Let curious Traitors sleave silk flies,
   To 'witch poor wandring fishes eyes.

   For thee, thou needst no such deceit,
   For thou thy self art thine own bait;
   Tha fish that is not catch'd thereby,
   Is wiser far, alas, then I.

Pisc. Well remembred, honest Scholer, I thank you for these choice Verses, which I have heard formerly, but had quite forgot, till they were recovered by your happie memorie. Well, being I have now rested my self a little, I will make you some requital, by telling you some observations of the Eele, for it rains still, and (as you say) our Angles are as money put to use, that thrive when we play.


It is agreed by most men, that the Eele is both a good and a most daintie fish; but most men differ about his breeding; some say, they breed by generation as other fish do; and others, that they breed (as some worms do) out of the putrifaction of the earth, and divers other waies; those that denie them to breed by generation, as other fish do, ask, if any man ever saw an Eel to have Spawn or Melt? And they are answered, That they may be as certain of their breeding, as if they had seen Spawn; for they say, that they are certain that Eeles have all parts fit for generation, like other fish, but so smal as not to be easily discerned, by reason of their fatness; but that discerned they may be; and that the Hee and the She Eele may be distinguished by their fins.

And others say, that Eeles growing old, breed other Eeles out of the corruption of their own age, which Sir Francis Bacon sayes, exceeds not ten years. And others say, that Eeles are bred of a particular dew falling in the Months of May or June on the banks of some particular Ponds or Rivers (apted by nature for that end) which in a few dayes is by the Suns heat turned into Eeles. I have seen in the beginning of July, in a River not far from Canterbury, some parts of it covered over with young Eeles about the thickness of a straw; and these Eeles did lye on the top of that water, as thick as motes are said to be in the Sun; and I have heard the like of other Rivers, as namely, in Severn, and in a pond or Mere in Stafford-shire, where about a set time in Summer, such small Eeles abound so much, that many of the poorer sort of people, that inhabit near to it, take such Eeles out of this Mere, with sieves or sheets, and make a kind of Eele-cake of them, and eat it like as bread. And Gesner quotes venerable Bede to say, that in England there is an Iland called Ely, by reason of the innumerable number of Eeles that breed in it. But that Eeles may be bred as some worms and some kind of Bees and Wasps are, either of dew, or out of the corruption of the earth, seems to be made probable by the Barnacles and young Goslings bred by the Suns heat and the rotten planks of an old Ship, and hatched of trees, both which are related for truths by Dubartas, and our learned Cambden, and laborious Gerrard in his Herball.

It is said by Randelitius, that those Eeles that are bred in Rivers, that relate to, or be neer to the Sea, never return to the fresh waters (as the Salmon does alwaies desire to do) when they have once tasted the salt water; and I do the more easily believe this, because I am certain that powdered Bief is a most excellent bait to catch an Eele: and S'r. Francis Bacon will allow the Eeles life to be but ten years; yet he in his History of Life and Death, mentions a Lamprey, belonging to the Roman Emperor, to be made tame, and so kept for almost three score yeers; and that such useful and pleasant observations were made of this Lamprey, that Crassus the Oratour (who kept her) lamented her death.

It is granted by all, or most men, that Eeles, for about six months (that is to say, the six cold months of the yeer) stir not up and down, neither in the Rivers nor the Pools in which they are, but get into the soft earth or mud, and there many of them together bed themselves, and live without feeding upon any thing (as I have told you some Swallows have been observed to do in hollow trees for those six cold months); and this the Eele and Swallow do, as not being able to endure winter weather; for Gesner quotes Albertus to say, that in the yeer 1125 (that years winter being more cold then usual) Eeles did by natures instinct get out of the water into a stack of hay in a Meadow upon dry ground, and there bedded themselves, but yet at last died there. I shall say no more of the Eele, but that, as it is observed, he is impatient of cold, so it has been observed, that in warm weather an Eele has been known to live five days out of the water. And lastly, let me tell you, that some curious searchers into the natures of fish, observe that there be several sorts or kinds of Eeles, as the Silver-Eele, and green or greenish Eel (with which the River of Thames abounds, and are called Gregs); and a blackish Eele, whose head is more flat and bigger then ordinary Eeles; and also an Eele whose fins are redish, and but seldome taken in this Nation (and yet taken sometimes): These several kinds of Eeles, are (say some) diversly bred; as namely, out of the corruption of the earth, and by dew, and other wayes (as I have said to you:) and yet it is affirmed by some, that for a certain, the Silver-Eele breeds by generation, but not by Spawning as other fish do, but that her Brood come alive from her no bigger nor longer then a pin, and I have had too many testimonies of this to doubt the truth of it.

And this Eele of which I have said so much to you, may be caught with divers kinds of baits; as namely, with powdered Bief, with a Lob or Garden-worm, with a Minnow, or gut of a Hen, Chicken, or with almost any thing, for he is a greedy fish: but the Eele seldome stirs in the day, but then hides himselfe, and therefore he is usually caught by night, with one of these baits of which I have spoken, and then caught by laying hooks, which you are to fasten to the bank, or twigs of a tree; or by throwing a string cross the stream, with many hooks at it, and baited with the foresaid baits, and a clod or plummet, or stone, thrown into the River with this line, that so you may in the morning find it neer to some fixt place, and then take it up with a drag-hook or otherwise: but these things are indeed too common to be spoken of; and an hours fishing with any Angler will teach you better, both for these, and many other common things in the practical part of Angling, then a weeks discourse. I shall therefore conclude this direction for taking the Eele, by telling you, that in a warm day in Summer, I have taken many a good Eele by snigling, and have been much pleased with that sport.

And because you that are but a young Angler, know not what snigling is, I wil now teach it to you: you remember I told you that Eeles do not usually stir in the day time, for then they hide themselvs under some covert, or under boards, or planks about Floud-gates, or Weirs, or Mils, or in holes in the River banks; and you observing your time in a warm day, when the water is lowest, may take a hook tied to a strong line, or to a string about a yard long, and then into one of these holes, or between any boards about a Mill, or under any great stone or plank, or any place where you think an Eele may hide or shelter her selfe, there with the help of a short stick put in your bait, but leisurely, and as far as you may conveniently; and it is scarce to be doubted, but that if there be an Eel within the sight of it, the Eele will bite instantly, and as certainly gorge it; and you need not doubt to have him, if you pull him not out of the hole too quickly, but pull him out by degrees, for he lying folded double in his hole, will, with the help of his taile, break all, unless you give him time to be wearied with pulling, and so get him out by degrees; not pulling too hard. And thus much for this present time concerning the Eele: I wil next tel you a little of the Barbell, and hope with a little discourse of him, to have an end of this showr, and fal to fishing, for the weather clears up a little.


Pisc. The Barbell, is so called (sayes Gesner) from or by reason of his beard, or wattles at his mouth, his mouth being under his nose or chaps, and he is one of the leather mouthed fish that has his teeth in his throat, he loves to live in very swift streams, and where it is gravelly, and in the gravel will root or dig with his nose like a Hog, and there nest himself, taking so fast hold of any weeds or moss that grows on stones, or on piles about Weirs, or Floud-gates, or Bridges, that the water is not able, be it never so swift, to force him from the place which he seems to contend for: this is his constant custome in Summer, when both he, and most living creatures joy and sport themselves in the Sun; but at the approach of Winter, then he forsakes the swift streams and shallow waters, and by degrees retires to those parts of the River that are quiet and deeper; in which places, (and I think about that time) he Spawns; and as I have formerly told you, with the help of the Melter, hides his Spawn or eggs in holes, which they both dig in the gravel, and then they mutually labour to cover it with the same sand to prevent it from being devoured by other fish.

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There be such store of this fish in the River Danubie, that Randelitius sayes, they may in some places of it, and in some months of the yeer, be taken by those that dwel neer to the River, with their hands, eight or ten load at a time; he sayes, they begin to be good in May, and that they cease to be so in August; but it is found to be otherwise in this Nation: but thus far we agree with him, that the Spawne of a Barbell is, if be not poison, as he sayes, yet that it is dangerous meat, and especially in the month of May; and Gesner declares, it had an ill effect upon him, to the indangering of his life.

This fish is of a fine cast and handsome shape, and may be rather said not to be ill, then to bee good meat; the Chub and he have (I think) both lost a part of their credit by ill Cookery, they being reputed the worst or coarsest of fresh water fish: but the Barbell affords an Angler choice sport, being a lustie and a cunning fish; so lustie and cunning as to endanger the breaking of the Anglers line, by running his head forcibly towards any covert or hole, or bank, and then striking at the line, to break it off with his tail (as is observed by Plutark, in his book De industria animalium) and also so cunning to nibble and suck off your worme close to the hook, and yet avoid the letting the hook come into his mouth.

The Barbell is also curious for his baits, that is to say, that they be clean and sweet; that is to say, to have your worms well scowred, and not kept in sowre or mustie moss; for at a well scowred Lob-worm, he will bite as boldly as at any bait, especially, if the night or two before you fish for him, you shall bait the places where you intend to fish for him with big worms cut into pieces; and Gentles (not being too much scowred, but green) are a choice bait for him, and so is cheese, which is not to be too hard, but kept a day or two in a wet linnen cloth to make it tough; with this you may also bait the water a day or two before you fish for the Barbel, and be much the likelier to catch store; and if the cheese were laid in clarified honey a short time before (as namely, an hour or two) you were still the likelier to catch fish; some have directed to cut the cheese into thin pieces, and toste it, and then tye it on the hook with fine Silk: and some advise to fish for the Barbell with Sheeps tallow and soft cheese beaten or work'd into a Paste, and that it is choicely good in August; and I believe it: but doubtless the Lob-worm well scoured, and the Gentle not too much scowred, and cheese ordered as I have directed, are baits enough, and I think will serve in any Month; though I shall commend any Angler that tryes conclusions, and is industrious to improve the Art. And now, my honest Scholer, the long showre, and my tedious discourse are both ended together; and I shall give you but this Observation, That when you fish for a Barbell, your Rod and Line be both long, and of good strength, for you will find him a heavy and a doged fish to be dealt withal, yet he seldom or never breaks his hold if he be once strucken.

And now lets go and see what interest the Trouts will pay us for letting our Angle-rods lye so long and so quietly in the water. Come, Scholer; which will you take up?

Viat. Which you think fit, Master.

Pisc. Why, you shall take up that; for I am certain by viewing the Line, it has a fish at it. Look you, Scholer, well done. Come now, take up the other too; well, now you may tell my brother Peter at night, that you have caught a lease of Trouts this day. And now lets move toward our lodging, and drink a draught of Red-Cows milk, as we go, and give pretty Maudlin and her mother a brace of Trouts for their supper.

Viat. Master, I like your motion very well, and I think it is now about milking time, and yonder they be at it.

Pisc. God speed you good woman, I thank you both for our Songs last night; I and my companion had such fortune a fishing this day, that we resolve to give you and Maudlin a brace of Trouts for supper, and we will now taste a draught of your Red Cows milk.

Milkw. Marry, and that you shal with all my heart, and I will be still your debtor: when you come next this way, if you will but speak the word, I will make you a good Sillabub and then you may sit down in a Hay-cock and eat it, and Maudlin shal sit by and sing you the good old Song of the Hunting in Chevy Chase, or some other good Ballad, for she hath good store of them: Maudlin hath a notable memory.

Viat. We thank you, and intend once in a Month to call upon you again, and give you a little warning, and so good night; good night Maudlin. And now, good Master, lets lose no time, but tell me somewhat more of fishing; and if you please, first something of fishing for a Gudgion.

Pisc. I will, honest Scholer. The Gudgion is an excellent fish to eat, and good also to enter a young Angler; he is easie to bee taken with a smal red worm at the ground and is one of those leather mouthed fish that has his teeth in his throat and will hardly be lost off from the hook if he be once strucken: they be usually scattered up and down every River in the shallows, in the heat of Summer; but in Autome, when the weeds begin to grow sowre or rot, and the weather colder, then they gather together, and get into the deeper parts of the water, and are to be fish'd for there, with your hook alwaies touching the ground, if you fish for him with a flote or with a cork; but many will fish for the Gudgion by hand, with a running line upon the ground without a cork as a Trout is fished for, and it is an excellent way.

There is also another fish called a Pope, and by some a Russe, a fish that is not known to be in some Rivers; it is much like the Pearch for his shape, but will not grow to be bigger then a Gudgion; he is an excellent fish, no fish that swims is of a pleasanter taste; and he is also excellent to enter a young Angler, for he is a greedy biter, and they will usually lye abundance of them, together in one reserved place where the water is deep, and runs quietly, and an easie Angler, if he has found where they lye, may catch fortie or fiftie, or sometimes twice so many at a standing.

There is also a Bleak, a fish that is ever in motion, and therefore called by some the River Swallow; for just as you shall observe the Swallow to be most evenings in Summer ever in motion, making short and quick turns when he flies to catch flies in the aire, by which he lives, so does the Bleak at the top of the water; and this fish is best caught with a fine smal Artificial Fly, which is to be of a brown colour, and very smal, and the hook answerable: There is no better sport then whipping for Bleaks in a boat in a Summers evening, with a hazle top about five or six foot long, and a line twice the length of the Rod. I have heard Sir Henry Wotton say, that there be many that in Italy will catch Swallows so, or especially Martins (the Bird-Angler standing on the top of a Steeple to do it, and with a line twice so long, as I have spoke of) and let me tell you, Scholer, that both Martins and Blekes be most excellent meat.

I might now tell you how to catch Roch and Dace, and some other fish of little note, that I have not yet spoke of; but you see we are almost at our lodging, and indeed if we were not, I would omit to give you any directions concerning them, or how to fish for them, not but that they be both good fish (being in season) and especially to some palates, and they also make the Angler good sport (and you know the Hunter sayes, there is more sport in hunting the Hare, then in eating of her) but I will forbear to give you any direction concerning them, because you may go a few dayes and take the pleasure of the fresh aire, and bear any common Angler company that fishes for them, and by that means learn more then any direction I can give you in words, can make you capable of; and I will therefore end my discourse, for yonder comes our brother Peter and honest Coridon, but I will promise you that as you and I fish, and walk to morrow towards London, if I have now forgotten any thing that I can then remember, I will not keep it from you.

Well met, Gentlemen, this is luckie that we meet so just together at this very door. Come Hostis, where are you? is Supper ready? come, first give us drink, and be as quick as you can, for I believe wee are all very hungry. Wel, brother Peter and Coridon to you both; come drink, and tell me what luck of fish: we two have caught but ten Trouts, of which my Scholer caught three; look here's eight, and a brace we gave away: we have had a most pleasant day for fishing, and talking, and now returned home both weary and hungry, and now meat and rest will be pleasant.

Pet. And Coridon and I have not had an unpleasant day, and yet I have caught but five Trouts; for indeed we went to a good honest Alehouse, and there we plaid at shovel-board half the day; all the time that it rained we were there, and as merry as they that fish'd, and I am glad we are now with a dry house over our heads, for heark how it rains and blows. Come Hostis, give us more Ale, and our Supper with what haste you may, and when we have sup'd, lets have your Song, Piscator, and the Ketch that your Scholer promised us, or else Coridon wil be doged.

Pisc. Nay, I will not be worse then my word, you shall not want my Song, and I hope I shall be perfect in it.

Viat. And I hope the like for my Ketch, which I have ready too, and therefore lets go merrily to Supper, and then have a gentle touch at singing and drinking; but the last with moderation.

Cor. Come, now for your Song, for we have fed heartily. Come Hostis, give us a little more drink, and lay a few more sticks on the fire, and now sing when you will.

Pisc. Well then, here's to you Coridon; and now for my Song.

   Oh the brave Fisher's life,
   It is the best of any,
   'Tis full of pleasure, void of strife,
   And 'tis belov'd of many:
         Other joyes
         are but toyes,
         only this
         lawful is,
         for our skil
         breeds no ill,
   but content and pleasure.

   In a morning up we rise
   Ere Aurora's peeping,
   Drink a cup to wash our eyes,
   Leave the sluggard sleeping;
        Then we go
        too and fro,
        with our knacks
        at our backs,
        to such streams
        as the Thames
   if we have the leisure.

   When we please to walk abroad
   For our recreation,
   In the fields is our abode,
   Full of delectation:
        Where in a Brook
        with a hook,
        or a Lake
        fish we take,
        there we sit
        for a bit,
   till we fish intangle.

   We have Gentles in a horn,
   We have Paste and worms too,
   We can watch both night and morn.
   Suffer rain and storms too:
        None do here
        use to swear,
        oathes do fray
        fish away.
        we sit still,
        watch our quill,
   Fishers must not rangle.

   If the Suns excessive heat
   Makes our bodies swelter
   To an Osier hedge we get
   For a friendly shelter,
        where in a dike
        Pearch or Pike,
        Roch or Dace
        we do chase
        Bleak or Gudgion
        without grudging,
   we are still contented.

   Or we sometimes pass an hour,
   Under a green willow,
   That defends us from a showr,
   Making earth our pillow,
        There we may
        think and pray
        before death
        stops our breath;
        other joyes
        are but toyes
   and to be lamented.

Viat. Well sung, Master; this dayes fortune and pleasure, and this nights company and Song, do all make me more and more in love with Angling. Gentlemen, my Master left me alone for an hour this day, and I verily believe he retir'd himself from talking with me, that he might be so perfect in this Song; was it not Master?

Pisc. Yes indeed, for it is many yeers since I learn'd it, and having forgotten a part of it, I was forced to patch it up by the help of my own invention, who am not excellent at Poetry, as my part of the Song may testifie: But of that I will say no more, least you should think I mean by discommending it, to beg your commendations of it. And therefore without replications, lets hear your Ketch, Scholer, which I hope will be a good one, for you are both Musical, and have a good fancie to boot.

Viat. Marry, and that you shall, and as freely as I would have my honest Master tel me some more secrets of fish and fishing as we walk and fish towards London to morrow. But Master, first let me tell you, that that very hour which you were absent from me, I sate down under a Willow tree by the water side, and considered what you had told me of the owner of that pleasant Meadow in which you then left me, that he had a plentiful estate, and not a heart to think so; that he had at this time many Law Suites depending, and that they both damp'd his mirth and took up so much of his time and thoughts, that he himselfe had not leisure to take the sweet content that I, who pretended no title, took in his fields; for I could there sit quietly, and looking on the water, see fishes leaping at Flies of several shapes and colours; looking on the Hils, could behold them spotted with Woods and Groves; looking down the Meadows, could see here a Boy gathering Lillies and Lady-smocks, and there a Girle cropping Culverkeys and Cowslips, all to make Garlands sutable to this pleasant Month of May; these and many other Field-flowers so perfum'd the air, that I thought this Meadow like the field in Sicily (of which Diodorus speaks) where the perfumes arising from the place, makes all dogs that hunt in it, to fall off, and to lose their hottest sent. I say, as I thus sate joying in mine own happy condition, and pittying that rich mans that ought this, and many other pleasant Groves and Meadows about me, I did thankfully remember what my Saviour said, that the meek possess the earth; for indeed they are free from those high, those restless thoughts and contentions which corrode the sweets of life. For they, and they only, can say as the Poet has happily exprest it.

   Hail blest estate of poverty!
   Happy enjoyment of such minds,
   As rich in low contentedness.
   Can, like the reeds in roughest winds,
     By yeelding make that blow but smal
     At which proud Oaks and Cedars fal.

Gentlemen, these were a part of the thoughts that then possest me, and I there made a conversion of a piece of an old Ketch, and added more to it, fitting them to be sung by us Anglers: Come, Master, you can sing well, you must sing a part of it as it is in this paper.


For two Voyces, Treble and Basso. CANTUS. Mr. Henry Lawes.

  An's life is but vain; for 'tis subject to pain, and sorrow,
  and short as a buble; 'tis a hodge podge of business, and mony, and
  care; and care, and mony, and trouble. But we'l take no care when the
  weather proves fair, nor will we vex now though it rain; we'l banish
  all sorrow, and sing till tomorrow, and Angle, and Angle again.

The ANGLERS song.

BASSUS. For two Voyces. By Mr. Henry Lawes.

  An's life is but vain; for 'tis subiect to pain and sorrow, and
  short as a buble, 'tis a hodge podge of business, and mony, and care;
  and care, and mony, and trouble. But we'l take no care when the
  weather proves fair, nor will we vex now though it rain; we'l banish
  all sorrow, and sing till to morrow, and Angle, and Angle again.

Pet. I marry Sir, this is Musick indeed, this has cheered my heart, and made me to remember six Verses in praise of Musick, which I will speak to you instantly.

   Musick, miraculous Rhetorick, that speak'st sense
   Without a tongue, excelling eloquence;
   With what ease might thy errors be excus'd
   Wert thou as truly lov'd as th'art abus'd.
   But though dull souls neglect, and some reprove thee,
   I cannot hate thee, 'cause the Angels love thee.

Piscat. Well remembred, brother Peter, these Verses came seasonably. Come, we will all joine together, mine Hoste and all, and sing my Scholers Ketch over again, and then each man drink the tother cup and to bed, and thank God we have a dry house over our heads.

Pisc. Well now, good night to every body.

Pet. And so say I.

Viat. And so say I.

Cor. Good night to you all, and I thank you.

Pisc. Good morrow brother Peter, and the like to you, honest Coridon; come, my Hostis sayes there's seven shillings to pay, lets each man drink a pot for his mornings draught, and lay downe his two shillings, that so my Hostis may not have occasion to repent her self of being so diligent, and using us so kindly.

Pet. The motion is liked by every body; And so Hostis, here's your mony, we Anglers are all beholding to you, it wil not be long ere Ile see you again. And now brother Piscator, I wish you and my brother your Scholer a fair day, and good fortune. Come Coridon, this is our way.


Viat. Good Master, as we go now towards London, be still so courteous as to give me more instructions, for I have several boxes in my memory in which I will keep them all very safe, there shall not one of them be lost.

Pisc. Well Scholer, that I will, and I will hide nothing from you that I can remember, and may help you forward towards a perfection in this Art; and because we have so much time, and I have said so little of Roch and Dace, I will give you some directions concerning some several kinds of baits with which they be usually taken; they will bite almost at any flies, but especially at Ant-flies; concerning which, take this direction, for it is very good.

Take the blackish Ant-fly out of the Mole-hill, or Ant-hil, in which place you shall find them in the Months of June; or if that be too early in the yeer, then doubtless you may find them in July, August and most of September; gather them alive with both their wings, and then put them into a glass, that will hold a quart or a pottle; but first, put into the glass, a handful or more of the moist earth out of which you gather them, and as much of the roots of the grass of the said Hillock; and then put in the flies gently, that they lose their wings, and as many as are put into the glass without bruising, will live there a month or more, and be alwaies in a readiness for you to fish with; but if you would have them keep longer, then get any great earthen pot or barrel of three or four gallons (which is better) then wash your barrel with water and honey; and having put into it a quantitie of earth and grass roots, then put in your flies and cover it, and they will live a quarter of a year; these in any stream and clear water are a deadly bait for Roch or Dace, or for a Chub, and your rule is to fish not less then a handful from the bottom.

I shall next tell you a winter bait for a Roch, a Dace, or Chub, and it is choicely good. About All-hollantide (and so till Frost comes) when you see men ploughing up heath-ground, or sandy ground, or greenswards, then follow the plough, and you shall find a white worm, as big as two Magots, and it hath a red head, (you may observe in what ground most are, for there the Crows will be very watchful, and follow the Plough very close) it is all soft, and full of whitish guts; a worm that is in Norfolk, and some other Countries called a Grub, and is bred of the spawn or eggs of a Beetle, which she leaves in holes that she digs in the ground under Cow or Horse-dung, and there rests all Winter, and in March or April comes to be first a red, and then a black Beetle: gather a thousand or two of these, and put them with a peck or two of their own earth into some tub or firkin, and cover and keep them so warm, that the frost or cold air, or winds kill them not, and you may keep them all winter and kill fish with them at any time, and if you put some of them into a little earth and honey a day before you use them, you will find them an excellent baite for Breame or Carp.

And after this manner you may also keep Gentles all winter, which is a good bait then, and much the better for being lively and tuffe, or you may breed and keep Gentle thus: Take a piece of beasts liver and with a cross stick, hang it in some corner over a pot or barrel half full of dry clay, and as the Gentles grow big, they wil fall into the barrel and scowre themselves, and be alwayes ready for use whensoever you incline to fish; and these Gentles may be thus made til after Michaelmas: But if you desire to keep Gentles to fish with all the yeer, then get a dead Cat or a Kite, and let it be fly-blowne, and when the Gentles begin to be alive and to stir, then bury it and them in moist earth, but as free from frost as you can, and these you may dig up at any time when you intend to use them; these wil last till March, and about that time turn to be flies.

But if you be nice to fowl your fingers (which good Anglers seldome are) then take this bait: Get a handful of well made Mault, and put it into a dish of water, and then wash and rub it betwixt your hands til you make it cleane, and as free from husks as you can; then put that water from it, and put a small quantitie of fresh water to it, and set it in something that is fit for that purpose, over the fire, where it is not to boil apace, but leisurely, and very softly, until it become somewhat soft, which you may try by feeling it betwixt your finger and thumb; and when it is soft, then put your water from it, and then take a sharp knife, and turning the sprout end of the corn upward, with the point of your knife take the back part of the husk off from it, and yet leaving a kind of husk on the corn, or else it is marr'd; and then cut off that sprouted end (I mean a little of it) that the white may appear, and so pull off the husk on the cloven side (as I directed you) and then cutting off a very little of the other end, that so your hook may enter, and if your hook be small and good, you will find this to be a very choice bait either for Winter or Summer, you sometimes casting a little of it into the place where your flote swims.

And to take the Roch and Dace, a good bait is the young brood of Wasps or Bees, baked or hardened in their husks in an Oven, after the bread is taken out of it, or on a fire-shovel; and so also is the thick blood of Sheep, being half dryed on a trencher that you may cut it into such pieces as may best fit the size of your hook, and a little salt keeps it from growing black, and makes it not the worse but better; this is taken to be a choice bait, if rightly ordered.

There be several Oiles of a strong smel that I have been told of, and to be excellent to tempt fish to bite, of which I could say much, but I remember I once carried a small bottle from Sir George Hastings to Sir Henry Wotton (they were both chimical men) as a great present; but upon enquiry, I found it did not answer the expectation of Sir Henry, which with the help of other circumstances, makes me have little belief in such things as many men talk of; not but that I think fishes both smell and hear (as I have exprest in my former discourse) but there is a mysterious knack, which (though it be much easier then the Philosophers-Stone, yet) is not atainable by common capacities, or else lies locked up in the braine or brest of some chimical men, that, like the Rosi-crutions, yet will not reveal it. But I stepped by chance into this discourse of Oiles, and fishes smelling; and though there might be more said, both of it, and of baits for Roch and Dace, and other flote fish, yet I will forbear it at this time, and tell you in the next place how you are to prepare your tackling: concerning which I will for sport sake give you an old Rhime out of an old Fish-book, which will be a part of what you are to provide.

   My rod, and my line, my flote and my lead,
   My hook, & my plummet, my whetstone & knife,
   My Basket, my baits, both living and dead,
   My net, and my meat for that is the chief;
   Then I must have thred & hairs great & smal,
   With mine Angling purse, and so you have all.

But you must have all these tackling, and twice so many more, with which, if you mean to be a fisher, you must store your selfe: and to that purpose I will go with you either to Charles Brandons (neer to the Swan in Golding-lane); or to Mr. Fletchers in the Court which did once belong to Dr. Nowel the Dean of Pauls, that I told you was a good man, and a good Fisher; it is hard by the west end of Saint Pauls Church; they be both honest men, and will fit an Angler with what tackling hee wants.

Viat. Then, good Master, let it be at Charles Brandons, for he is neerest to my dwelling, and I pray lets meet there the ninth of May next about two of the Clock, and I'l want nothing that a Fisher should be furnished with.

Pisc. Well, and Ile not fail you, God willing, at the time and place appointed.

Viat. I thank you, good Master, and I will not fail you: and good Master, tell me what baits more you remember, for it wil not now be long ere we shal be at Totenham High-Cross, and when we come thither, I wil make you some requital of your pains, by repeating as choice a copy of Verses, as any we have heard since we met together; and that is a proud word; for wee have heard very good ones.

Pisc. Wel, Scholer, and I shal be right glad to hear them; and I wil tel you whatsoever comes in my mind, that I think may be worth your hearing: you may make another choice bait thus, Take a handful or two of the best and biggest Wheat you can get, boil it in a little milk like as Frumitie is boiled, boil it so till it be soft, and then fry it very leisurely with honey, and a little beaten Saffron dissolved in milk, and you wil find this a choice bait, and good I think for any fish, especially for Roch, Dace, Chub or Greyling; I know not but that it may be as good for a River Carp, and especially if the ground be a little baited with it.

You are also to know, that there be divers kinds of Cadis, or Case-worms that are to bee found in this Nation in several distinct Counties, & in several little Brooks that relate to bigger Rivers, as namely one Cadis called a Piper, whose husk or case is a piece of reed about an inch long or longer, and as big about as the compass of a two pence; these worms being kept three or four days in a woollen bag with sand at the bottom of it, and the bag wet once a day will in three or four dayes turne to be yellow; and these be a choice bait for the Chub or Chavender, or indeed for any great fish, for it is a large bait.

There is also a lesser Cadis-worm, called a Cock-spur, being in fashion like the spur of a Cock, sharp at one end, and the case or house in which this dwels is made of smal husks and gravel, and slime, most curiously made of these, even so as to be wondred at, but not made by man (no more then the nest of a bird is): this is a choice bait for any flote fish, it is much less then the Piper Cadis, and to be so ordered; and these may be so preserved ten, fifteen, or twentie dayes.

There is also another Cadis called by some a Straw-worm, and by some a Russe-coate, whose house or case is made of little pieces of bents and Rushes, and straws, and water weeds, and I know not what which are so knit together with condens'd slime, that they stick up about her husk or case, not unlike the bristles of a Hedg-hog; these three Cadis are commonly taken in the beginning of Summer, and are good indeed to take any kind of fish with flote or otherwise, I might tell you of many more, which, as these doe early, so those have their time of turning to be flies later in Summer; but I might lose my selfe, and tire you by such a discourse, I shall therefore but remember you, that to know these, and their several kinds, and to what flies every particular Cadis turns, and then how to use them, first as they bee Cadis, and then as they be flies, is an Art, and an Art that every one that professes Angling is not capable of.

But let mee tell you, I have been much pleased to walk quietly by a Brook with a little stick in my hand, with which I might easily take these, and consider the curiosity of their composure; and if you shall ever like to do so, then note, that your stick must be cleft, or have a nick at one end of it, by which meanes you may with ease take many of them out of the water, before you have any occasion to use them. These, my honest Scholer, are some observations told to you as they now come suddenly into my memory, of which you may make some use: but for the practical part, it is that that makes an Angler; it is diligence, and observation, and practice that must do it.


Pisc. Well, Scholar, I have held you too long about these Cadis, and my spirits are almost spent, and so I doubt is your patience; but being we are now within sight of Totenham, where I first met you, and where wee are to part, I will give you a little direction how to colour the hair of which you make your lines, for that is very needful to be known of an Angler; and also how to paint your rod, especially your top, for a right grown top is a choice Commoditie, and should be preserved from the water soking into it, which makes it in wet weather to be heavy, and fish ill favouredly, and also to rot quickly.

Take a pint of strong Ale, half a pound of soot, and a like quantity of the juice of Walnut-tree leaves, and an equal quantitie of Allome, put these together into a pot, or pan, or pipkin, and boil them half an hour, and having so done, let it cool, and being cold, put your hair into it, and there let it lye; it wil turn your hair to be a kind of water, or glass colour, or greenish, and the longer you let it lye, the deeper coloured it will bee; you might be taught to make many other colours, but it is to little purpose; for doubtlesse the water or glass coloured haire is the most choice and most useful for an Angler.

But if you desire to colour haire green, then doe it thus: Take a quart of smal Ale, halfe a pound of Allome, then put these into a pan or pipkin, and your haire into it with them, then put it upon a fire and let it boile softly for half an hour, and then take out your hair, and let it dry, and having so done, then take a pottle of water, and put into it two handful of Mary-golds, and cover it with a tile or what you think fit, and set it again on the fire, where it is to boil softly for half an hour, about which time the scum will turn yellow, then put into it half a pound of Copporis beaten smal, and with it the hair that you intend to colour, then let the hair be boiled softly till half the liquor be wasted, & then let it cool three or four hours with your hair in it; and you are to observe, that the more Copporis you put into it, the greener it will be, but doubtless the pale green is best; but if you desire yellow hair (which is only good when the weeds rot) then put in the more Mary-golds, and abate most of the Copporis, or leave it out, and take a little Verdigreece in stead of it.

This for colouring your hair. And as for painting your rod, which must be in Oyl, you must first make a size with glue and water, boiled together until the glue be dissolved, and the size of a lie colour; then strike your size upon the wood with a bristle brush or pensil, whilst it is hot: that being quite dry, take white lead, and a little red lead, and a little cole black, so much as all together will make an ash colour, grind these all together with Linseed oyle, let it be thick, and lay it thin upon the wood with a brush or pensil, this do for the ground of any colour to lie upon wood.

For a Green.

Take Pink and Verdigreece, and grind them together in Linseed oyl, as thick as you can well grind it, then lay it smoothly on with your brush, and drive it thin, once doing for the most part will serve, if you lay it wel, and be sure your first colour be thoroughly dry, before you lay on a second.

Well, Scholer, you now see Totenham, and I am weary, and therefore glad that we are so near it; but if I were to walk many more days with you, I could stil be telling you more and more of the mysterious Art of Angling; but I wil hope for another opportunitie, and then I wil acquaint you with many more, both necessary and true observations concerning fish and fishing: but now no more, lets turn into yonder Arbour, for it is a cleane and cool place.

Viat. 'Tis a faire motion, and I will requite a part of your courtesies with a bottle of Sack, and Milk, and Oranges and Sugar, which all put together, make a drink too good for anybody, but us Anglers: and so Master, here is a full glass to you of that liquor, and when you have pledged me, I wil repeat the Verses which I promised you, it is a Copy printed amongst Sir Henry Wottons Verses, and doubtless made either by him, or by a lover of Angling: Come Master, now drink a glass to me, and then I will pledge you, and fall to my repetition; it is a discription of such Country recreations as I have enjoyed since I had the happiness to fall into your company.

   Quivering fears, heart tearing cares,
   Anxious sighes, untimely tears,
     Fly, fly to Courts,
     Fly to fond wordlings sports,
   Where strain'd Sardonick smiles are glosing stil
   And grief is forc'd to laugh against her will.
     Where mirths but Mummery,
     And sorrows only real be.

   Fly from our Country pastimes, fly,
   Sad troops of humane misery,
     Come serene looks,
     Clear as the Christal Brooks,
   Or the pure azur'd heaven that smiles to see
   The rich attendance on our poverty;
     Peace and a secure mind
     Which all men seek, we only find.

   Abused Mortals did you know
   Where joy, hearts ease, and comforts grow,
     You'd scorn proud Towers,
     And seek them in these Bowers,
   Where winds sometimes our woods perhaps may shake,
   But blustering care could never tempest make,
     No murmurs ere come nigh us,
     Saving of Fountains that glide by us.

   Here's no fantastick Mask nor Dance,
   But of our kids that frisk, and prance;
     Nor wars are seen
     Unless upon the green
   Two harmless Lambs are butting one the other,
   Which done, both bleating, run each to his mother:
     And wounds are never found,
     Save what the Plough-share gives the ground.

   Here are no false entrapping baits
   To hasten too too hasty fates
      Unles it be
      The fond credulitie
   Of silly fish, which, worldling like, still look
   Upon the bait, but never on the hook;
     Nor envy, 'nless among
     The birds, for price of their sweet Song.

   Go, let the diving Negro seek
   For gems hid in some forlorn creek,
     We all Pearls scorn,
     Save what the dewy morne
   Congeals upon each little spire of grasse,
   Which careless Shepherds beat down as they passe,
     And Gold ne're here appears
     Save what the yellow Ceres bears.

   Blest silent Groves, oh may you be
   For ever mirths blest nursery,
     May pure contents
     For ever pitch their tents
   Upon these downs, these Meads, these rocks, these mountains,
   And peace stil slumber by these purling fountains
     Which we may every year
     find when we come a fishing here.

Pisc. Trust me, Scholer, I thank you heartily for these Verses, they be choicely good, and doubtless made by a lover of Angling: Come, now drink a glass to me, and I wil requite you with a very good Copy of Verses; it is a farewel to the vanities of the world, and some say written by D'r. D, but let them bee writ by whom they will, he that writ them had a brave soul, and must needs be possest with happy thoughts at the time of their composure.

   Farwel ye guilded follies, pleasing troubles,
   Farwel ye honour'd rags, ye glorious bubbles;
   Fame's but a hollow eccho, gold pure clay,
   Honour the darling but of one short day.
   Beauty (th'eyes idol) but a damask'd skin,
   State but a golden prison, to live in
   And torture free-born minds; imbroider'd trains
   Meerly but Pageants, for proud swelling vains,
   And blood ally'd to greatness is alone
   Inherited, not purchas'd, nor our own.
     Fame, honor, beauty, state, train, blood & birth,
     Are but the fading blossomes of the earth.

   I would be great, but that the Sun doth still,
   Level his rayes against the rising hill:
   I would be high, but see the proudest Oak
   Most subject to the rending Thunder-Stroke;
   I would be rich, but see men too unkind
   Dig in the bowels of the richest mind;
   I would be wise, but that I often see
   The Fox suspected whilst the Ass goes free;
   I would be fair, but see the fair and proud
   Like the bright Sun, oft setting in a cloud;
   I would be poor, but know the humble grass
   Still trampled on by each unworthy Asse:
   Rich, hated; wise, suspected; scorn'd, if poor;
   Great, fear'd; fair, tempted; high, stil envi'd more
     I have wish'd all, but now I wish for neither,
     Great, high, rich, wise, nor fair, poor I'l be rather.

   Would the world now adopt me for her heir,
   Would beauties Queen entitle me the Fair,
   Fame speak me fortunes Minion, could I vie
   Angels w'th India, w'th a speaking eye
   Command bare heads, bow'd knees, strike Justice dumb
   As wel as blind and lame, or give a tongue
   To stones, by Epitaphs, be call'd great Master,
   In the loose Rhimes of every Poetaster
   Could I be more then any man that lives,
   Great, fair, rich, wise in all Superlatives;
   Yet I more freely would these gifts resign,
   Then ever fortune would have made them mine
     And hold one minute of this holy leasure,
     Beyond the riches of this empty pleasure.

   Welcom pure thoughts, welcome ye silent groves,
   These guests, these Courts, my soul most dearly loves,
   Now the wing'd people of the Skie shall sing
   My chereful Anthems to the gladsome Spring;
   A Pray'r book now shall be my looking glasse,
   In which I will adore sweet vertues face.
   Here dwell no hateful locks, no Pallace cares,
   No broken vows dwell here, nor pale fac'd fears,
   Then here I'l sit and sigh my hot loves folly,
   And learn t'affect an holy melancholy.
     And if contentment be a stranger, then
     I'l nere look for it, but in heaven again.

Viat. Wel Master, these be Verses that be worthy to keep a room in every mans memory. I thank you for them, and I thank you for your many instructions, which I will not forget; your company and discourse have been so pleasant, that I may truly say, I have only lived, since I enjoyed you and them, and turned Angler. I am sorry to part with you here, here in this place where I first met you, but it must be so: I shall long for the ninth of May, for then we are to meet at Charls Brandons. This intermitted time wil seem to me (as it does to men in sorrow,) to pass slowly, but I wil hasten it as fast as I can by my wishes, and in the mean time the blessing of Saint Peters Master be with mine.

Pisc. And the like be upon my honest Scholer. And upon all that hate contentions, and love quietnesse, and vertue, and Angling.


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