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Penk or Minnow can. For note, that the nimble turning of that, or the Minnow, is the perfection of Minnow-fishing. To which end, if you put your hook into his mouth, and out at his tail; and then, having first tied him with white thread a little above his tail, and placed him after such a manner on your hook as he is like to turn, then sew up his mouth to your line, and he is like to turn quick, and tempt any Trout; but if he does not turn quick, then turn his tail, a little more or less, towards the inner part, or towards the side of the hook; or put the Minnow or Sticklebag a little more crooked or more straight on your hook, until it will turn both true and fast; and then doubt not but to tempt any great Trout that lies in a swift stream. And the Loach that I told you of will do the like : no bait is more tempting, provided the Loach be not too big.
And now, scholar, with the help of this fine morning, and your patient attention, I have said all that my present memory will afford me, concerning most of the several fish that are usually fished for in fresh waters.
VENATOR. But, master, you have by your former civility made me hope that you will make good your promise, and say something of the several rivers that be of most note in this nation ; and also of fish-ponds, and the ordering of them : and do it I pray, good master ; for I love any discourse of rivers, and fish, and fishing ; the time spent in such discourse passes away very pleasantly. PISCATOR. Well, scholar, since the ways and weather do
both favour us, and that we yet see not TottenCHAP. XIX. Of Rivers, and some
ham Cross, you shall see my willingness to
of satisfy your desire. And, first, for the rivers of Fish.
this nation : there be, as you may note out of Dr Heylin's Geography, f and others, in number three hundred and twenty-five, but those of chiefest note he reckons and describes as followeth.
The chief is THAMISIS, compounded of two rivers, Thame and Isis; whereof the former, rising somewhat beyond Thame in
* The Minnow, if used in this manner, is so tempting a bait, that few fish are able to resist it. The present Earl of — told me, that in the month of June last, at Kimpton Hoo, near Wellwyn, in Hertfordshire, he caught (with a Minnow) a Rud, a fish described in page 182, which, insomuch as the Rud is not reckoned, nor does the situation of his teeth, which are in his thrvat, bespeak him to be a fish of prey, is a fact more extraordinary than that related by Sir George Hastings, in Chap. IV., of a Foriidge ?rout (of which kind of fish none had ever been known to be iaken with an angle) which he caught, ‘and supposed it bit for wantonness.-H.
† No portion of this chapter occurs in the first, but was added in the second and subsequent editions.
It should be Dr Heylin's Cosmography.
Buckinghamshire, and the latter near Cirencester in Gloucestershire, meet together about Dorchester in Oxfordshire ; the issue of which happy conjunction is the Thamisis, or Thames ; * hence it flieth betwixt Berks, Buckinghamshire, Middlesex, Surrey, Kent, and Essex : and so weddeth itself to the Kentish Medway, in the very jaws of the ocean. This glorious river feeleth the violence and benefit of the sea more than any river in Europe ; ebbing and flowing, twice a day, more than sixty miles ; about whose banks are so many fair towns and princely palaces, that a Germant poet thus truly spake :
Tot campos, &c.
That Thames with royal Tiber may compare. 2. The second river of note is SABRINA or SEVERN : it hath its beginning in Plinlimmon Hill, in Montgomeryshire; and his end seven miles from Bristol ; washing, in the mean space, the walls of Shrewsbury, Worcester, and Gloucester, and divers other places and palaces of note.
3. TRENT, so called from thirty kind of fishes that are found in it, or for that it receiveth thirty lesser rivers ; who having his fountain in Staffordshire, and gliding through the counties of
* Though the current opinion is that the Thames had its name from the conjunction of Thame and Isis, it plainly appears that the Isis was always called Thames, or 1 ems, before it came near the Tame. Gibson's Camden, edit. 1753. p. 99. And although the head of the Thame is generally supposed to be in Oxfordshire, Camden (whom Walton probably followed), Brit. 215, says it is in Buckinghamshire. Lambarde, however, adopting the authority of Leland, says, “ Tame springeth out of the hilles of Hertfordshire, at a place ca led Bulburne, a few myles from Penlye (the house of a family of gentlemen called Verneys); it runneth from thence to Aylesbury in Buckinghamshire, and to Tame (a market-town in Oxfordshire, whearunto it gyveth the name), then passinge under Whetley Bridge, it cometh to Dorchester, and hard by joyneth with Isis, or Ouse, and from that place joyneth with it in name also."- Dictionarium Topographicum, voce THAME. Unfortunately, Leland's manuscript has lost twenty-five leaves in that part of it where one might expect to find this passage. But the following extract from an author of great authority, and who had a seat in the county of Hertford, will determine the question: "The Thame (the most famous river of England) issues from three heads in the parish of Tring: the first rises in an orchard, near the parsonagehouse; the second in a place called Dundell ; and the other proceeds from a spring named Bulbourne, which last stream joins the other waters at a place called New Mill; whence all, gliding together in one current, through Puttenham in this county, pass by Aylesbury (a fair market-town in Buckinghamshire) to Etherop (an ancient pleasant seat of that noble family of the Dormers, Earls of Carnarvon); and crossing that county, by Notley Abbey, to Thame (a market-town in Oxfordshire, which borrows its name from this river), hasteneth away by Whately Bridge to Dorchester (an ancient episcopal seat), and thence congratulates the Isis ; but both emulating each other for the name, and neither yielding, they are complicated by that of Thamisis.”—Sir Henry Chauncy's Historical Antiquities of Hertfordshire, p. 2.-H.
† Who this German poet was is not known; but the verses, in the original Latin, are in Heylin's Cosmography, page 240, and are as follow :
Tot campos, sylvas, tot regia tecta, tot hortos,
Nottingham, Lincoln, Leicester, and York, augmenteth the turbulent current of Humber, the most violent stream of all the isle. This Humber is not, to say truth, a distinct river having a springhead of his own, but it is rather the mouth or æstuarium of divers rivers here confluent and meeting together, namely, your Derwent, and especially of Ouse and Trent; and, as the Danow, having received into its channel the river Dravus, Savus, Tibiscus, and divers other, changeth his name into this of Humberabus, as the old geographers call it.
4. MEDWAY, a Kentish river, famous for harbouring the royal navy.
5. TWEED, the north-east bound of England; on whose northern banks is seated the strong and impregnable town of Berwick.
6. TYNE, famous for Newcastle, and her inexhaustible coal. pits.* These, and the rest of principal note, are thus comprehended in one of Mr Drayton's Sonnets:
Our floods' queen, Thames, for ships and swans is crown'd;
And stately Severn for her shore is prais'd ;
And Avon's fame to Albion's cliffs is rais'd.
York many wonders of her Ouse can tell ;
And Kent will say her Medway doth excel:
Our northern borders boast of Tweed's fair flood;
And the old Lea brags of the Danish blood.
* It is unnecessary to give here such a description and history of the rivers of this kingdom as some readers would wish for.. They may, however, find a great variety of curious and useful learning on the subject in Selden's Notes on the Polyolbion.-H.
“LEE flu. Lygan, Saxon. Luy, Mar. [forsan Marcellinus). Lea, Polydoro. The name of the water which (runnyn berwene Ware and London) devydethe, for a great part of the way, Essex and Hertfordshyre. It begynnethe near a place called Whitchurche; and from thence, passinge by Hertford, Ware, and Waltham, openethe into the Thamise at Ham in Essex; wheare the place is, at this day, called Lee Mouthe. It hathe, of longe tyme, borne vessells from London, 20 myles towarde the head; for, in tyme of Kinge Alfrede, the Danes entered Leymouthe, and fortified, at a place adjoyninge to this ryver, 20 myles from London ; where, by fortune, king Alfrede passinge by, espied that the channell of the ryver might be in such sorte weakened, that they should want water to returne withe their shippes : he caused therefore the water to be abated by two greate trenches, and settinge the Londoners upon theim, he made theim batleil; wherein they lost four of their captaines, and a great nomber of their conimon souldiers ; the rest flyinge into the castle which they had builte. Not longe after, they weare so pressed that they forsoke all, and lefte their shippes as a pray to the Londoners; which breakinge some, and burninge other, conveyed the rest to London. This casile, for the distance, might seme Her forde; but it was some other upon that banke, which had no longe continuance : for Edward the elder, and son of this Alfrede, builded Hertiorie not longe after."-Vide Lambarde's Dictionarium Topographicum, voce LEE. Drayton's Polyolnion, Song the Twelfth, and the first note thereon. Other authors, who confirm this fact. also add, that for the purpose aforesaid he opened the mouth of the river. See Sir William Dugdale's History of the embanking and draining the Feus, and Sir John Spelman's Life of Ælfred the Great, pubiished by Hearne, in 8vo, 1709;
These observations are out of learned Dr Heylin, and my old deceased friend Michael Drayton; and because you say you love such discourses as these, of rivers, and fish, and fishing, I love you the better, and love the more to impart them to you. Nevertheless, scholar, if I should begin but to name the several sorts of strange fish that are usually taken in many of those rivers that run into the sea, I might beget wonder in you, or unbelief, or both: and yet I will venture to tell you a real truth concerning one lately dissected by Dr Wharton, a man of great learning and experience, and of equal freedom to communicate it; one that loves me and my art; one to whom I have been beholden for many of the choicest observations that I have imparted to you. This good man, that dares do anything rather than tell an untruth, did, I say, tell me he had lately dissected one strange fish, and he thus described it to me :
“ This fish was almost a yard broad, and twice that length; his mouth wide enough to receive, or take into it, the head of a man ; his stomach, seven or eight inches broad. He is of a slow motion; and usually lies or lurks close in the mud ; and has a movable string on his head, about a span or near unto a quarter of a yard long ; by the moving of which, which is his natural bait, when he lies close and unseen in the mud, he draws other smaller fish so close to him, that he can suck them into his mouth, and so devours and digests them.”
And, scholar, do not wonder at this ; for besides the credit of the relator, you are to note, many of these, and fishes which are of the like and more unusual shapes, are very often taken on the mouths of our sea-rivers, and on the sea-shore. And this will be no wonder to any that have travelled Egypt ; where, 'tis known, the famous river Nilus does not only breed fishes that yet want names, but, by the overflowing of that river, and the help of the sun's heat on the fat slime which that river leaves on the banks when it falls back into its natural channel, such strange fish and beasts are also bred, that no man can give a name to; as Grotius in his “ Sopham,
,"* and others, have observed.
VARIATION. 9 and then sucks them into his mouth, and devours them.---1st, 2d, and 3d edit.
the perusal of which last-named author will leave the reader in very little doubt but that these trenches are the very same that now branch off from the river between Temple Mills and Old Ford, and, crossing the Stratford road, enter the Thames, together with the principal stream, a little below Blackwall.-H.
*" Or artificial meat, so many dishes,
The several kinds unknown to Nile of Fishes,
But whither am I strayed in this discourse. I will end it by telling you, that at the mouth of some of these rivers of ours, Herrings are so plentiful, as, namely, near to Yarmouth in Norfolk, * and in the west country Pilchers so very plentiful, as you will wonder to read what our learned Camden relates of them in his “ Britannia." +
Well, scholar, I will stop here, and tell you what by reading and conference I have observed concerning fish-ponds.
Doctor LEBAULT, the learned Frenchman, in his large disChap. XX.1 course of Maison Rustique, gives this direction for
making of fish-ponds. I shall refer you to him, to read it at large : but I think I shall contract it, and yet make it as useful.
He adviseth, that when you have drained the ground, and made the earth firm where the head of the pond must be, that you must then, in that place, drive in two or three rows of oak or elm piles, which should be scorched in the fire, or half burnt, before they be driven into the earth; for being thus used, it preserves them much longer from rotting. And having done so, lay fagots or bavins of smaller wood betwixt them : and then earth betwixt and above them : and then, having first very well rammed them and the earth, use another pile in like manner as the first were : and note, that the second pile is to be of or about the height that you intend to make your sluice or floodgate, or the vent that you intend shall convey the overflowings of your pond in any flood that shall endanger the breaking of your pond-dam.
Then he advises, that you plant willows or owlers, about it, or both : and then cast in bavins, in some places not far from the
VARIATION.) i osiers.
Strange beasts from Afric, which yet want a name,
And birds which from the Arabiaii desert came." -Grotius. His Sophompaneas or Joseph, a tragedy, by Francis Goldsmith, Esq., 12mo, Lond. 1652.
* The town of Yarmouth is bound by charter to send annually to the Sheriffs of Norwich a hundred herrings, which are to be baked in twenty-four pies or pasties, and delivered to the lord of the manor of Eastcarlton, who is to convey them to the king.– Beckwith's Fragmenta Antiquitatis, ed. 1784, p. 135. † P. 178, 186.
The whole of this chapter was added to the second edition. $ One of the best French editions of the work here alluded to is mentioned by De Bure, “ L'Agriculture et Maison Rustique de MM. Charles E tienne, et lean LIEBAVIT, Docteurs en Médecine. Edition dernière,” 4to, Lyon. 1594. A translation of this work, under the title of " Maison Rustique, or the Country Farme,” compiled by Charles Steuens and John Liebault, Doctors of Physicke, and translated into English by Richard Surflet," appeared in quarto, Lond. 1600 : and a second edition, with large additions, by Gervase Markham, fol. Lond. 1616. The latter is, no doubt, ihe “large discourse ” to which Walton alludes. This xxth Chapter of Walton is contracted from the xith, xiith, xiiith, xivth, and xvth chapters of Liebault's fourth book.-E.