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Already were the eaves possest
The showers were short, the weather mild,
Where, for some sturdy foot-ball swain,
And now, though late, the modest rose
To welcome the new-livery'd year. These were the thoughts that then possessed the undisturbed mind of Sir Henry Wotton. Will you hear the wish of another Angler, and the commendation of his happy life, which he also sings in verse ? viz. Jo. Davors, Esq. ; Let me live harmlessly, and near the brink
Of Trent or Avon, have a dwelling-place ; Where I may see my quill or cork down sink
With eager bite of Perch, or Bleak, or Dace; And on the world and my Creator think :
Whilst some men strive ill-gotten goods t embrace ; And others spend their time in base excess Of wine, or worse, in war and wantonness.
Let them that list, these pastimes still pursue,
And on such pleasing fancies feed their fill, So I the fields and meadows green may view,
And daily by fresh rivers walk at will, Among the daisies and the violets blue,
Red hyacinth, and yellow daffodil, Purple Narcissus like the morning rays Pale gander-grass, and azure culver-keys.
I count it higher pleasure to behold
The stately compass of the lofty sky,
The flaming chariot of the world's great eye ;
With sundry kinds of painted colours fly;
The plains extended level with the ground ;
The veins enclos'd with rivers running round ;
With headlong course into the sea profound ;
The lofty woods, the forests wide and long,
Adorn’d with leaves, and branches fresh and green, In whose cool bowers the birds with many a song
Do welcome with their quire the Summer's Queen ;
The meadows fair where Flora's gifts among
Are intermix'd, with verdant grass between ;
All these, and many more of His creation
That made the heavens, the Angler oft doth see ; Taking therein no little delectation,
To think how strange, how wonderful, they be ! Framing thereof an inward contemplation,
To set his heart from other fancies free ; And whilst he looks on these with joyful eye, His mind is rapt above the starry sky.
Sir, I am glad my memory has not lost these last verses, because they are somewhat more pleasant and more suitable to May-day, than my harsh discourse : and I am glad your patience hath held out so long as to hear them and me, for both together have brought us within the sight of the Thatchedhouse : and I must be your debtor, if you think it worth your attention, for the rest of my promised discourse, till some other opportunity, and a like time of leisure.
VEN. Sir, you have Angled me on with much pleasure to the Thatched-house : and I now find your words true, “ That good company makes the way “ seem short;” for trust me, Sir, I thought we had wanted three miles of this house till you shewed it to me: but now we are at it, we'll turn into it, and refresh ourselves with a cup of drink and a little rest.
Pisc. Most gladly, Sir, and we'll drink a civil cup to all the Otter-hunters that are to meet you to-morrow.
VEN. That we will, Sir, and to all the lovers of Angling too, of which number I am now willing to be one myself; for, by the help of your good discourse and company, I have put on new thoughts both of the art of Angling, and of all that profess it : and if you will but meet me to-morrow, at the time and place appointed, and bestow one day with me and my friends in hunting the Otter, I will dedicate the next two days to wait upon you, and we two will for that time do nothing but Angle, and talk of fish and fishing.
Pisc. 'Tis a match, Sir, I'll not fail you, God willing, to be at Amwell-hillto-morrow morning before sun-rising.
THE SECOND DAY.
CHAP. II. Observations of the OTTER and CAUB.
My friend Piscator, you have kept time with my thoughts; for the sun is just rising, and I myself just now come to this place, and the dogs have just now put down an Otter. Look down at the bottom of the hill there in that meadow, chequered with water-lilies and lady-smocks ; there you may see what work they make; Look ! look! you may see all busy, men and dogs, dogs and men, all busy.
Pisc. Sir, I am right glad to meet you, and glad to have so fair an entrance into this day's sport, and glad to see so many dogs, and more men all in pursuit of the Otter : Let's compliment no longer, but join unto them: Come honest Venator, let's be gone, let us make haste ; I long to be doing : no reasonable hedge or ditch shall hold me.
VEN. Gentleman - Huntsman, where found you this Otter?
Hunt. Marry, Sir, we found her a mile from 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