Here are no false entrapping baits, To hasten too, too hasty Fates, Unless it be The fond credulity Of silly fish, which worldling like, still look Upon the bait, but never on the hook;Nor envy, unless among The birds, for prize of their sweet song.
Go, let the diving negro seek For gems, hid in some forlorn creek:
We all pearls scorn, Save what the dewy morn Congeals upon each little spire of grass, Which careless shepherds beat down as they pass:
And gold ne'er here appears, Save what the yellow Ceres bears,Blest silent groves, oh may ye be, For ever, mirth's best nursery !
May pure contents For ever pitch their tents Upon these downs, these meads, these rocks, these mountains.
And peace still slumber by these purling fountains:
Which we may, every year, Meet when we come a-fishing here.
Piscator.Trust me, Scholar, I thank you heartily for these Verses: they be choicely good, and doubtless made by a lover of angling.Come, now, drink a glass to me, and I will requite you with another very good copy: it is a farewell to the vanities of the world, and some say written by Sir Harry Wotton, who I told you was an excellent angler.But let them be writ by whom they will, he that writ them had a brave soul, and must needs be possess with happy thoughts at the time of their composure.
Farewell, ye gilded follies, pleasing troubles;Farewell, ye honour'd rags, ye glorious bubbles;Fame's but a hollow echo, Gold, pure clay;Honour the darling but of one short day;
Beauty, th' eye's idol, but a damask'd skin;State, but a golden prison, to live in And torture free-born minds; embroider'd Trains, Merely but pageants for proud swelling veins;And Blood allied to greatness is alone Inherited, not purchas'd, nor our own.
Fame, Honour, Beauty, State, Train, Blood and Birth, Are but the fading blossoms of the earth.
I would be great, but that the sun doth still Level his rays against the rising hill:
I would be high, but see the proudest oak Most subject to the rending thunder-stroke:
I would be rich, but see men, too unkind Dig in the bowels of the richest mind:
I would be wise, but that I often see The fox suspected, whilst the ass goes free:
I would be fair, but see the fair and proud, Like the bright sun, oft setting in a cloud:
I would be poor, but know the humble grass Still trampled on by each unworthy ass:
Rich, hated wise, suspected, scorn'd if poor;Great, fear'd, fair, tempted, high, still envy'd more.
I have wish'd all, but now I wish for neither.
Great, high, rich, wise, nor fair: poor I'll be rather.
Would the World now adopt me for her heir;Would beauty's Queen entitle me the fair;
In the loose rhymes of every poetaster ?
Could I be more than any man that lives, Great, fair, rich wise, all in superlatives;Yet I more freely would these gifts resign Than ever fortune would have made them mine.
And hold one minute of this holy leisure Beyond the riches of this empty pleasure.
Welcome, pure thoughts; welcome, ye silent groves;These guests, these courts, my soul most dearly loves.
Now the wing'd people of the sky shall sing My cheerful anthems to the gladsome spring:
A pray'r-book, now, shall be my looking-glass, In which I will adore sweet virtue's face.
Here dwell no hateful looks, no palace cares, No broken vows dwell here, nor pale-fac'd fears;Then here I'll sit, and sigh my hot love's folly, And learn t' affect an holy melancholy:
And if contentment be a stranger then, I'll ne'er look for it, but in heaven, again.
Venator.Well, Master, these verses be worthy to keep a room in every man's memory.I thank you for them; and I thank you for your many instructions, which, God willing, I will not forget.And as St.Austin, in his Confessions, commemorates the kindness of his friend Verecundus, for lending him and his companion a country house, because there they rested and enjoyed themselves, free from the troubles of the world, so, having had the like advantage, both by your conversation and the art you have taught me, I ought ever to do the like; for, indeed, your company and discourse have been so useful and pleasant, that, I may truly say, I have only lived since I enjoyed them and turned angler, and not before.Nevertheless, here I must part with you; here in this now sad place, where I was so happy as first to meet you: but I shall long for the ninth of May; for then I hope again to enjoy your beloved company, at the appointed time and place.And now I wish for some somniferous potion, that might force me to sleep away the intermitted time, which will pass away with me as tediously as it does with men in sorrow;nevertheless I will make it as short as I can, by my hopes and wishes:
and, my good Master, I will not forget the doctrine which you told me Socrates taught his scholars, that they should not think to be honoured so much for being philosophers, as to honour philosophy by their virtuous lives.You advised me to the like concerning Angling, and Iwill endeavour to do so; and to live like those many worthy men, of which you made mention in the former part of your discourse.This is my firm resolution.And as a pious man advised his friend, that, to beget mortification, he should frequent churches, and view monuments, and charnel-houses, and then and there consider how many dead bodies time had piled up at the gates of death, so when I would beget content, and increase confidence in the power, and wisdom, and providence of Almighty God, I will walk the meadows, by some gliding stream, and there contemplate the lilies that take no care, and those very many other various little living creatures that are not only created, but fed, man knows not how, by the goodness of the God of Nature, and therefore trust in him.This is my purpose; and so, let everything that hath breath praise the Lord: and let the blessing of St.Peter's Master be with mine.
Piscator And upon all that are lovers of virtue; and dare trust in his providence; and be quiet; and go a Angling.
"Study to be quiet."