« ZurückWeiter »
you towards Ware, whither I am going this fine fresh May morning.
2 VENATOR. Sir, I, for my part, shall almost answer your hopes; for my purpose is to drink my morning's draught at the Thatched House in Hoddesden; and I think not to rest till I come thither, where I have appointed a friend or two to meet me: but for this gentleman that you see with me, I know not how far he intends his journey ; he came so lately into my company, that I have scarce had time to ask him the question.
AUCEPS. Sir, I shall by your favour bear you company as far as Theobalds, and there leave you ; for then I turn up to a friend's house, who mews a Hawk for me, * which I now long to see.
VENATOR. Sir, we are all so happy as to have a fine, fresh, cool morning ; and I hope we shall each be the happier in the others' company. And, Gentlemen, that I may not lose yours, I shall either abate or amend my pace to enjoy it, knowing that, as the Italians say, “Good company in a journey makes the way to seem the shorter.” +
AUCEPs. It may do, Sir, with the help of good discourse, which, methinks, we may promise from you, that both look and speak só cheerfully: and for my part, I promise you, as an invitation to it, that I will be as free and open hearted as discretion will allow me to be with strangers.
VENATOR. And, Sir, I promise the like.
PISCATOR, I am right glad to hear your answers; and, in confidence you speak the truth, I shall put on a boldness to ask you, Sir, whether business or pleasure caused you to be so early up, and walk so fast? for this other gentleman hath declared he is going to see a hawk, that a friend mews for him.
VARIATION. ? Viator. Sir, I shall almost answer your hopes: for my purpose is to be at Hoddesden, three miles short of that town, I will 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 Thatched House, about nine of the clock this morning; and that made me so early up, and indeed, to walk so fast.
Piscator. Sir, I know the Thatched House very well: I often make it my resting. place, and taste cup of alc 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 the shorter.
* "Mew is that place, whether it be abroad or in the house, where you set down your Hawk, during the time that she raiseth her feathers "-Latham.
Compagno allegro per camino ti serve per roncino.
3 VENATOR. Sir, mine is a mixture of both, a little business and more pleasure ; for I intend this day to do all my business, and then bestow another day or two in hunting the Otter, which a friend, that I go to meet, tells me is much pleasanter than any other chase whatsoever: howsoever, I mean to try it; for to-morrow morning we shall meet a pack of Otter-dogs of noble Mr Sadler's,* upon Amwell Hill, who will be there so early, that they intend to prevent the sunrising.
PISCATOR. Sir, my fortune has answered my desires, and my purpose is to bestow a day or two in helping to destroy some of those villanous vermin : for I hate them perfectly, because they love fish so well, or rather, because they destroy so much ; indeed so much, that, in my judgment all men that keep Otter-dogs ought to have pensions from the King,* to encourage them to destroy the very breed of those base Otters, they do so much mischief.
VENATOR. But what say you to the Foxes of the Nation, would not you as willingly have them destroyed ? for doubtless they do as much mischief as Otters do.
PISCATOR. Oh, Sir, if they do, it is not so much to me and my fraternity, as those base vermin the Otters do.
AUCEPS. Why, Sir, I pray, of what fraternity are you, that you are so angry with the poor Otters ?
5 PISCATOR. I am, Sir, a Brother of the Angle, and therefore
VARIATIONS. 3 Viator. 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 than any hunting whatsoever : and having despatched a little business this day, my purpose is to-morrow to follow the pack of dogs of honest Mr who hath appointed me and my friend to meet him upon Amwell Hill to-morrow morning by daybreak.
• Commonwealth. -ist and ad edit.
5 Piscator. 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 Oiter perfectly, even for their sakes that are of my brotherhood.
Viator. Sir, to be plain with you, I am sorry you are an Angler: sor I have heard many grave, serious men pity, and many pleasant men scoff at Anglers.
Piscator.' Sir, there are many men that are by others taken to be serious, grave men,
Ralph Sadler, of Standon, in the county of Herts, Esq., whose name is left blank in the first edition, was the son and heir of Sir Thomas Sadler, Knight, eldest son of the celebrated Sir Ralph Sadler, Knight Banneret in the reigns of Henry the Eighth and Queen Elizabeth. He succeeded to the estate at Standon, a few miles from Amwell, in 1606; married Anne, the eldest daughter of Sir Edward Coke, the Chief Justice ; but died without issue before February 1660. Sir Henry Chauncy, describing his property, says that “he delighted much in Hawking and Hunting, and the pleasures of a country life; was famous for his noble table, his great hospitality to his neighbours, and his abundant charity to the poor : and after he had lived to a great age, died on the twelfth day of February 1660, without issue; whereupon this manor descended to Walter Lord Aston, the son and heir of Gertrude his sister."-Antiq. of Hertf. p. 219 6. See Scott's Sadler Papers, vol. ii. p. 604, and Clutierbuck's Herts, vol. iii. p. 229.-H.
an enemy to the Otter : for you are to note, that we Anglers all love one another, and therefore do I hate the Otter 6 both for my own, and their sakes who are of my brotherhood.
VENATOR. And I am a lover of Hounds; I have followed many a pack of dogs many a mile, and heard many merry Huntsmen' make sport and scoff at Anglers.
AUCEPS. And I profess myself a Falconer, and have heard many grave, serious men pity them, it is such a heavy, contemptible, dull recreation.
PISCATOR. You know, Gentlemen, it is an easy thing to scoff at any art or recreation ; a little wit mixed with ill-nature, confidence, and malice, will do it; but though they often venture boldly, yet they are often caught, even in their own trap, according to that of Lucian, the father of the family of Scoffers :
Lucian, well skill'd in scoffing, this hath writ,
Meaning another, when yourself you jeer. * 9 If to this you add what Solomon t says of Scoffers, that they
which we contemn and pity; men of sour complexions; money-getting men, that spend all their time, first in getting, and next in anxious care to keep it : men that are condemned to be rich, and always discontented, or busy. For these poor rich men, we Anglers pity them; and stand in no need to borrow their thoughts to think ourselves happy : for, trust me, Sir, we enjoy a contentedness above the reach of such dispositions. 6 the Otter perfectly, even for their sakes.—1st edit. the Otter, even.—2d edit. 7 many men.-2d, 3d, and 4th edit.
8 But if this satisfy no 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; he shall find it fixed 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 fraternity 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 hath writ, etc: 9 But no more of the Scofier; for since Solomon says, he is an abomination to men, he shall be so to me; and, I think, to all that love Virtue and Angling.
* As might be inferred from the conclusion of the paragraph which precedes these verses in the first edition, they were slightly altered by Walton from the original, which occurs in “Certain Select Dialogues of Lucian, together with his true History, translated from the Greek into English, by Mr Francis Hickes." Oxford, 1634, 4to. That work was published by the son of the author, Thomas Hickes, M.A.; and at the end of an address, “to the honest and judicious reader” is the epigram in question, in Greek and English, and signed “T. H.”
“Lucian, well skill'd in old toyes, this hath writ;
For all's but folly that men thinke is wit ;
But thou admirest that which others jeer."
† Proverbs xxiv. 9, “The thought of foolishness is sin; and the scorner is an abom. ination to men."
are an abomination to mankind, let him that thinks fit scoff on, and be a Scoffer still ; but I account them enemies to me and all that love Virtue and Angling.
And for you that have heard many grave, serious men pity Anglers ; let me tell you, Sir, there be many men that are by others taken to be serious and grave men, whom we contemn and pity. Men that are taken to be grave, because nature hath made them of a sour complexion ; money-getting men, men that spend al' their time, first in getting, and next, in anxious care to keep it; men that are condemned to be rich, and then always busy or discontented : for these poor rich men, we Anglers pity them perfectly, and stand in no need to borrow their thoughts to think ourselves so happy, No, no, Sir, we enjoy a contentedness above the reach of such dispositions, and as the learned and ingenuous Montaigne* says, like himself, freely, “ When my Cat and I entertain each other with mutual apish tricks, as playing with a garter, who knows but that I make my Cat more sport than she makes me ? Shall I conclude her to be simple, that has her time to begin or refuse, to play as freely as I myself have ? Nay, who knows but that it is a defect of my not understanding her language, for doubtless Cats talk and reason with one another, that we agree no better : and who knows but that she pities me for being no wiser than to play with her, and laughs ? and censures my folly, for making sport for her, when we two play together?”
Thus freely speaks Montaigne concerning Cats; and I hope I may take as great a liberty to blame any man, and laugh at him too, let him be never so grave,3 that hath not heard what Anglers can say in the justification of their Art and Recreation ; which I may again tell you, is so full of pleasure, that we need not borrow their thoughts, to think ourselves happy.
VARIATIONS. 1 And as for any scoffer, qui mockat mockabitur. Let me tell you, that you may tell him what the witty Frenchman says in such a case: “When my Cat and I entertain each other with mutual apish tricks, as playing with a garter, who knows but that I make her more sport than she makes me ?' Shall I conclude her simple, that has her time to begin or refuse sportiveness as freely as I myself have? Nay, who knows but that our agreeing no betier is the defect of my not understanding her language? for, doubeless, Cats talk and reason with one another; and that she laughs at and censures my folly for making her sport, and pitics me for understanding her no better?” To this purpose speaks Montaigne concerning Cats; and I hope I may take as great a liberty to blame any Scoffer, that has never heard what an Angler can say in justification of his Art and Pleasure. ? than to play with her, and laughs.—Omitted in the 3d edition. 3 serious. --until 5th edit.
* In the Apology for Raimonde de Sebonde.
VENATOR. Sir, you have almost amazed me; for though I am no Scoffer, yet I have, I pray let me speak it without offence, always looked upon Anglers, as more patient, and more simple men, than I fear I shall find you to be.
PISCATOR. Sir, I hope you will not judge my earnestness to be impatience : and for my simplicity, if by that you mean a harmlessness, or that simplicity which was usually found in the primitive Christians, who were, as most Anglers are, quiet men, and followers of peace; men that were so simply wise, as not to sell their consciences to buy riches, and with them vexation and a fear to die; if you mean such simple men as lived in those times when there were fewer lawyers; when men might have had a lordship safely conveyed to them in a piece of parchment no bigger than your hand, though several sheets will not do it safely in this wiser age; I say, Sir, if you take us Anglers to be such simple men as I have spoke of, then myself and those of my profession will be glad to be so understood : But if by simplicity you meant to express a general defect in those that profess and practise the excellent Art of Angling, I hope in time to disabuse you, and make the contrary appear so evidently, that if you will but have patience to hear me, I shall remove all the anticipations that discourse, 4 or time, or prejudice, have possessed you with against that laudable and ancient Art ; for I know it is worthy the knowledge and practice of a wise man.
But, Gentlemen, though I be able to do this, I am not so un. mannerly as to engross all the discourse to myself; and therefore, you two having declared yourselves, the one to be a lover of Hawks, the other of Hounds, I shall be most glad to hear what you can say in the commendation of that recreation which each of you love and practise ; and having heard what you can say, I
4 Discourse may have possessed you with, against that ancient and laudable Art.
Viator. Why, Sir, is Angling of antiquity, and an Art, and an Art not easily learned ?
Piscator. Yes, Sir; and I doubt not but that if you and I were to converse together but till night, I should leave you possessed with the same happy thoughts that now possess me; not only from the antiquity of it, but that it deserves commendations; and that it is an Art, and worthy the knowledge and practice of a wise and a serious man.
Viator. Sir, I pray speak of them what you shall think fit; for we have yet five miles to walk before we shall come to the Thatched House. And, Sir, though my infirmities are many, yet I dare promise you, that both my patience and attention will endure to hear what you will say till we 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 it is an Art, and an Art worth learning, I shall beg I may become your scholar, both to wait upon you, and be instructed in the Art itself.