OME youthfull Gallant here perhaps will
This is no pastime for a gentleman.
It were more fit at cardes and dice to
To use both fence and dauncing now and than,
Or walke the streetes in nice and strange Aray,
Or with coy phrases court his Mistris fan,
A poore delight with toylle and painfull watch,
With losse of time a silly Fish to catch.
What pleasure can it be to walk about,
The fields and meads and pinching cold?
And stand all day to catch a silly Trout,
That is not worth a teaster to be sold,
And peraduenture sometimes goe without,
Besides the toles and troubles manifold,
And to be washt with many a showre of rayne
Before he can returne from thence againe?
More ease it were, and more delight I trow,
In some sweet house to passe the time away
30 THE SECRETS OF ANGLING
Through whose round hole you shall your Angle
And let it fall into the wary playne :
Untill he comes the weedes and stickes unto,
From whence your hooke it serveth to undo.*
Have Tooles good store to serve your turne
Least that you happen some to lose or breake ;
As in great waters oft it doth befall,
When that the Hooke is nought or Line too
And waxed thread, or silk, so it be small
To set them on, that if you list to wreake
Your former losse, you may supply the place,
And not returne with sorrow and disgrace.ǂ
Have twist likewise, so that it be not white.ǂ
Your rod to mend, or broken top to tye ;
For all white colours doe the Fishes fright
And make them from the bayte away to flye ;
34 THE SECRETS OF ANGLING
Amongst the best, with brave and gallant show,
And with faire dames to daunce, to sport and play,
And on the board the nimble dice to throw,
That brings in gaine, and helps the shot to pay,
And with good wine and store of dainty fare,
To feede at will and take but little care.
MEANE not here mens errours to reproue,
Nor doe enuie their seeming happy state ;
But rather meruaile why they doe not loue
An honest sport that is without debate ;
Since their abused pastimes often moue
Their mindes to anger and to mortall hate :
And as in bad delights their time they spend,
So oft it brings them to no better end.
Indeed it is a life of lesser paine,
To sit at play from noone till it be night :
And then from night till it be noone againe.
With damned oathes, pronounced in despight,
For little cause and euery trifle vaine,
To curse, to brawle, to quarrell, and to fight,
To packe the cards, and with some cozning
his fellowes Purse of all his coyne to picke.
THE SECRETS OF ANGLING 35
Or be beguile another of his Wife,
As did AEghistus Agamemnon seure :
Or as that Roman Monarch* led a life
To spoyle and spend, while others pine and sterue,
And to compell their friends with foolish strife
To take more drinke then will their health
And to conclude, for debt or or iust desart,
In baser tune to singe the counter-part.
O let me rather on the pleasant Brinke
Of Tyne and Trent possesse some dwelling place ;
Where I may see my Quill and Corke downe
With eager bit of Barbill, Bleike, or Dace :
And on the World and his Creator thinke,
While they proud Thais painted sheat imbrace.
And with the fume of strong Tobacco’s smoke,
And quaffing round are ready for to choke.
Let them that list these pastimes then pursue,
And on their pleasing fancies feed their fill ;
So I the Fields and Meadowes greene may view,
And thank you the Riuers freshe may walke at will,
Among the Dayzes and the Violets blew :
Red Hyacinth, and yealow Daffadill,
Purple Narcissus, like the morning rayes,
Pale Ganderlgas, and azour Culuerkayes.
36 THE SECRETS OF ANGLING
I count it better pleasure to behold
The goodly compasse of the loftie skye,
And in the midst thereof like burning gold
The flaming chariot of the worlds great eye ;
The watry cloudes that in the ayre vprold
With sundry kinds of painted collours flie :
And fayre Aurora lifting viewpoint her head,
And blushing rise from old Thitonus bed.
The hills and Mountains raised from the Plaines,
The plaines extended levell with the ground,
The ground devided into sundry vaines,
The vaines inclos’d with running riuers round,
With headlong course into the sea profound :
The surging sea beneath the valleys low,
The valleys sweet, and lakes that louely flowe.
The lofty woods the forrests wide and long,
Adornd with leaues and branches fresh and greene
In whose coole bow’rs the birds with chaunting
Doe welcome with their quire the Summers
The meadowes faire where Flora’s gifts among,
Are intermixt the verdant grasse betweene,
The silver skaled fish that softlie swimme,
Within the brookes and christall watry brimme.
All these and many more of his creation,
That made the heauens the Anglers oft doth see,