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Oh the gallant fisher's life,

the best of any ; 'Tis full of pleasure, void of strife, And 'tis beloved by many;

Other joys
Are but toys;
Only this
Lawful is;
For our skill

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
To 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,
Then we sit

For a bit
Till we fish entangle.

We have gentles in a horn
We have paste and worms too;
We can watch both eve and nom,
Suffer rain and stortas too;

None do here
Use to swear,
Oaths do fray
Fish away;
We sit still

And watch our quill ;
Fishers must not wrangle.

If the sun's excessive hent
Make our bodies swelter,



To an osier-hedge we get
For a friendly shelter;

Where in a dyke
Perch or pike
Roach or dace
We do chace,
Bleak or gudgeon

Without grudging;
We are still contented.
Or we sometimes pass an hour
Under a green willow,
That defends us from a shower,
Making earth our pillow;

Where we may
Think and pray,
Before death
Stops our breath :
Other joys

Are but toys
And to be lamented.


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Here from old Izaak Walton's book again we find such a pleasant picture of a contemplative fisherman's peace of mind that we cannot resist laying it before our readers.

“My next and last example"—the good old man is pleading eloquently though quaintly, for the morality of his favourite sport—“shall be that undervaluer of money the late Provost of Eton College, Sir Henry Wotton, a man with whom I have often fished and conversed, a man whose foreign employments in the service of this nation, and whose experience, learning, wit, and cheerfulness, made his company to be esteemed one of the delights of mankind; this man, whose very approbation of angling were sufficient to convince any modest censurer of it, this man was also & most dear lover and frequent practiser of the art of angling ; of which he would say, 'Twas an employment for his idle time, which was then not idly spent: for angling was, after tedious study, a rest to his mind, a cheerer of his spirits, a diverter of sadness, a calmer of unquiet thoughts, a moderator of passions, a procurer of contentedness; and that it begat habits of peace and patience in those that possessed and practised it. Indeed, my friend, you will find angling to be like the virtue of humility, which has a calmness of spirit and a world of other blessings attending upon it.

“Sir, it 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, when he was beyord seventy years of age, he made this description of a part of the present pleasures that possessed him, as he sate quietly in a summer's evening on a bank a-fishing; it is a description of the spring, which because it glided as softly and sweetly from his pen, as that river does at this time, by which it was then made, I shall repeat it unto you:

This day Dame Nature seem'd in love;
The lusty sap began to move :
Fresh juice did stir th' embracing vines,
And birds had drawn their valentines ;
The jealous trout that low did lie,
Rose at a well-dissembled fly;
There stood my friend with patient skill,
Attending of his trembling quill.
Already were the caves possest
With the swift pilgrim's daubéd nest :



The groves already did rejoice
In Philomel's triumphing voice :
The showers were short, the weather mild,
The morning fresh, the evening smiled.
Joan takes her neat-rubb'd pail, and now
She trips to milk the sand-red cow;
Where, for some sturdy foot-ball swain,
Joan strokes a syllabub or twain.
The fields and gardens were beset
With tulip, crocus, violet ;
And now, though late, the modest rose
Did more than half a blush disclose.
Thus all looks gay, and full of cheer,
To welcome the new-livery'd year.”


And now in parting company with the old fisherman, let us turn to our poets and hear what they have to tell us of April showers and sunshine, rainbows and blossom :

The showers of the spring

Rouse the birds and they sing;
If the wind do but stir for his proper delight,
Each leaf, that and this, his neighbour will kiss ;
Each wave, one and 'tother, speeds after his brother ;
They are happy, for that is their right!


The flowers live by the tears that fall

From the sad face of the skies ;
And life would have no joys at all,

Were there no watery eyes.
Love thou thy sorrow; grief shall bring

Its own excuse in after years;
The rainbow ! see how fair a thing
God hath built up from tears.



Triumphal arch that fill'st the sky

When storms prepare to part, I ask not proud philosophy

To teach me what thou art.

Still seem, as to my childhood's sight,

A midway station given For happy spirits to alight

Betwixt the earth and heaven.

Can all that Optics teach, unfold

Thy form to please me so,
As when I dreamt of gens and gold

Hid in thy radiant bow i

When Science from creation's face

Enchantment's veil withdraws, What lovely visions yield their place

To cold material laws !

And yet, fair bow, no fabling dreams,

But words of the Most High Have told why first thy robe of beams

Was woven in the sky.

When o'er the green undeluged earth

Heaven's covenant th didst suine, How came the world's grey fathers forth

To watch thy sacred sigu !

And when its yellow lustre smiled

O'er mountains yet untrod, Each mother held aloft her child,

To bless the bow of God.

Methinks, thy jubilee to keep,

The first, made anthem rang
On earth, deliver'd from the deep,

And the first poet sang.

Nor ever shall the Muse's eye

Unraptured greet thy beam; Theme of primeval prophecy,

Be still the poet's theme !

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