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Of these (because no man is born an artist nor an Angler) I thought fit to give thee this notice. I might say more, but it is not fit for this place; but if this Discourse which follows shall come to a second impression, which is possible, for slight books have been in this age observed to have that fortune, I shall then, for thy sake, be glad to correct what is faulty, or by a conference with any to explain or enlarge what is defective: but for this time I have neither a willingness nor leisure to say more, than wish thee a rainy evening to read this book in, and that the east wind may never blow when thou gocst a fishing. Farewell.

Iz. WA.

THE EPISTLE TO THE READER

IN THE SECOND EDITION.

TO THE READER OF THIS DISCOURSE, BUT

ESPECIALLY TO THE HONEST ANGLER.

a

I think fit to tell every Reader these following truths; that I did neither undertake, nor write, nor publish, and much less own this Discourse to please myself, and wish it may not displease others : for I have confessed there are many defects in it.

And yet I cannot doubt, but that by it some Readers may receive so much pleasure or profit as may make it worthy the time of their perusal, if they be not very busy men. And this is all the confidence that I can put on concerning the merit of what is here offered to their consideration and censure.

And I wish the Reader also to take notice, that in writing of it, I have made myself a recreation of a recreation; and that it might prove so to him, and not read dull and tediously, I have in several places mixed (not any scurrility, but) some innocent, harmless mirth, of which, if thou be a severe, sour-complexioned man, then I here disallow thee to be a competent judge; for divines say, there are offences given, and offences not given, but taken.

And I am the willinger to justify the pleasant part of it, because, though it is known I can be serious at seasonable times, yet the whole Discourse is a kind of picture of my own disposition in such days and times, as 1 allow to myself, when honest Nat, and R. R. and I go a fishing together.

And let me add this, that he that likes not the book, should like the picture of the Trout, and the other fish, which I dare commend, because they concern not myself.

a

Next, let me tell the Reader, that in that which is the more useful part of this Discourse; that is to say, the observations of the nature, and breeding, and seasons, and catching of fish, I am not so simple as not to know, but that a captious reader

may

find exceptions against something said of some of these; and therefore I must entreat him to consider, that experience teaches us to know, that several countries alter the time, and I think almost the manner, of fishes breeding, but doubtless of their being in season; as may appear by three rivers in Monmouthshire, namely, Severn, Wye, and Usk, where Camden observes, that in the river Wye, Salmon are in season from September to April, and we are certain, that in the other two, and in Thames and Trent, and in most other rivers, they be in season the six hotter months.

Now for the Art of catching fish, that is to say, how to make a man that was none, to be an Angler by a book; he that undertakes it shall undertake a harder task than Mr. Hales, that in a printed book, called “ The Private School of Defence,” undertook to teach the science or art of fencing, and was laughed at for his labour. Not but that many useful things might be observed out of that book; but that the art was not to be taught by words : nor is the Art of Angling; nor have I undertaken to leave out nothing that might be said of it, but to acquaint the Reader with many things that are not usually known to every Angler; and I shall leave gleanings and observations enough to be made out of the experience of all that love and practise this recreation, to which I shall encourage them. For Angling may be said to be like the Mathematicks, that can never be fully learnt; at least, not so fully, but that there will still be more new experiments left for the trial of other men that succeed us.

But I think all that love this game may here learn something that may be worth their money, if they be not poor and needy men; and in case they be, I then wish them to forbear to buy it;

!; for I write not to get money, but for pleasure, and this Discourse boasts of no more; for I hate to promise much, and fail.

But pleasure I have found both in the search and conference about what is here offered to the Reader's view and censure; I wish him as much in the perusal of it, and so might here take

NOTE.

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1 Britannia, fol. 633. Edition 1637, which is the one quoted by Walton throughout the work.

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my leave : but must stay a little and tell him, that whereas it is said by many, that in fly-fishing for a Trout, the Angler must observe his twelve several flies for the twelve months of the year ; I say, he that follows that rule, shall be as sure to catch fish, as he that makes hay by the fair days in an Almanack, and no surer; for those very flies that use to appear

about and on the water in one month of the year, may the following year come almost a month sooner or later, as the same year proves

colder or hotter; and yet in the following Discourse I have set down the twelve flies that are in reputation with many Anglers, and they may serve to give him some light concerning them. And he may note, that there is in Wales, and other countries peculiar flies, proper to the particular place or country; and doubtless, unless a man makes a fly to counterfeit that very fly in that place, he is like to lose his labour: but for the generality, three or four flies neat and rightly made, and not too big, serve for a Trout in most rivers all the summer. And for winter fly-fishing it is as useful as an Almanack out of date. And of these, (because as no man is born an artist, so no man is born an Angler) I thought fit to give thee this notice.

When I have told the Reader, that in this second impression there are many enlargements, gathered both by my own observation, and the communication of friends, I shall stay him no longer than to wish him a rainy evening to read this following Discourse ; and that (if he be an Angler,) the east wind may never blow when he goes a fishing.

1. W.

THE EPISTLE TO THE READER

IN THE FIFTH EDITION.1

TO ALL READERS OF THIS DISCOURSE, BUT

ESPECIALLY TO THE HONEST ANGLER.

I THINK fit to tell thee these following truths; that I did neither undertake, nor write, nor publish, and much less own, this Discourse to please myself : and, having been too easily drawn to do alla to please others, as I propose not the gaining of credit by this undertaking, so I would not willingly lose any part of that to which I had a just title before I began it; and do therefore desire and hope, if I deserve not commendations, yet I may obtain pardon.

And though this Discourse may be liable to some exceptions, yet I cannot doubt but that most Readers may receive so much pleasure or profit by it, as may make it worthy the time of their perusal, if they be not too grave or too busy men. And this is all the confidence that I can put on, concerning the merit of what is here offered to their consideration and censure; and if the last prove too severe, as I have a liberty, so I am resolved to use it, and neglect all sour censures.

And I wish the Reader also to take notice, that in writing of it I have made myself a recreation of a recreation; and that it

VARIATIONS.

a to do all. -Omitted in 3rd Edit. b if they be not very busy men.-3rd Edit. c too severe, I have a liberty, and am resolved to neglect it.-Ibid.

NOTE.

1 The variations between this, and the third, and fourth Editions, are pointed out in the notes.

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