Imagens das páginas

adversity, contrasting, as it would forcibly have done, with Walton's having passed the latter years of his life in the episcopal residences of that eminent person, it must nevertheless be said, that there is no evidence that Morley ever visited Walton in Staffordshire, or that he was indebted to him for any particular services.

It is remarkable that no other allusion should occur in Walton's works to his having resided at or in the neighbourhood of Stafford, than a line in the song called “the Angler's wish,” before mentioned, wherein he says that one of his desires is to

“ Loiter long days near Shawford brook,"

the name of the part of the river Sow, about five miles from Stafford, which runs through the land bequeathed by Walton to the corporation of that town for charitable purposes; but as this wish may have been formed at a distance from the locality, it is no proof that the writer was habitually indulging in the gratification, at the time when the desire for it was expressed. That Walton visited Stafford occasionally is however indisputable.

On the 11th of March, 1648, and probably in London, Mrs. Walton was delivered of a daughter, who received her mother's name of Anne. This event is recorded in Walton's hand-writing, with many other entries of a similar nature, in a copy of his prayer book formerly be

" longing to Dr. Hawes; and as it is a very interesting relic of the original owner, and has been celebrated by Mr. Bowles, 20 it is proper to state that the book in question is a small folio edition of “the Book of Common Prayer and administration of the Sacraments and other Rites and Ceremonies of the Church of England,” printed by Barker in 1639; and that it has always remained in the possession of his descendants.

Before the year 1650 Walton took a house in the parish of Clerkenwell, where Mrs. Walton gave birth to a son, who was baptized in St. James's church by the name of ISAAK, on the 10th of February, 1650; but this child lived only a few months, and was buried at Clerkenwell on

19 “My doghter Anne borne the eleventh of March, 1647."[1647-8). 20 Life of Ken, vol. i. passim.


the 10th of June following. The disappointment which Walton had thrice experienced in not having a son to inherit his good name, was however happily compensated in the ensuing year, when his wife was again delivered of a boy, of whose birth the annexed account was written by his father in the family prayer-book, which agrees with the parish register of Clerkenwell : 22 “ My last son Isaac, born the 7th of September, 1651, at half an hour after two o'clock in the afternoon, being Sunday, and so was baptized in the evening by Mr. Thornton, in my house in Clerkenwell, Mr. Henry Davison and brother Beauchamp were his god-fathers, and Mrs. Row his god-mother."

Of the parties here mentioned all which can be said is that Mr. Thornton was apparently the rector or curate of Clerkenwell. Mr. Henry Davison was a member of Gray's Inn, and was probably descended from Secretary Davison, the connection between whose family and that of Cranmer has been pointed out.2 Walton's “ brother

• Beauchamp” was James Beacham, a goldsmith of London, and the husband of Martha Ken, Mrs. Walton's half sister. Mrs. Row was probably the wife either of the “ Nat or R. Roe” who accompanied Walton in his fishing excursions, and who were distantly related to him.

In 1651 Walton published a collection of the writings of Sir Henry Wotton, under the title of “ Reliquiæ Wottonianæ,” with a memoir of the author. He was induced


[ocr errors]

21 “ Isaacke sonne to Isaack Walton and

ux. x'pened 10th February, 1649." Register of St. James's, Clerkenwell.

“ Isaacke sonn to Isaack Walton, [buried] 10th June, 1650.” Ibid.

22 “ Isaack son to Isaack Walton and x'pened 7th September, 1651.”—Register of the parish of Clerkenwell, which also contains the following entry of a son of George Walton : “ Abraham son to Geo. Walton, [buried] 18th March, 1653.”

23 The will of “Henry Davison, of Gray's Inn, gentleman,” was dated on the 3rd of April, and proved on the 30th of May, 1652. He does not appear to have been married, but had two sisters, Jane, then the wife of Richard Cleare, and Mary, who was unmarried. A Mr. Henry Neville was his executor.

24 Sir John Hawkins (p. 17) conjectures that the Life of Wotton was finished in 1644, because in the preface to the collected edition of Walton's Lives, he says, “having written these two lives,” (of Donne and Wotton], he “lay quiet twenty years," before he commenced the Life of Hooker, which appeared in 1664. Walton is not always exact in his dates; but Hawkins's suggestion seems to be erroneous from Walton's stating that it was printed as fast as it was written, the MS. being supplied to the printer in detached pieces. Vide p. xxxiv. postea.

to become Wotton's biographer at the solicitation of Sir Edward Bysshe, Clarencieux King of Arms, Charles Cotton, whose name is identified with the “ Complete Angler," and Nicholas Oudert, the confidential servant of Wotton; and the manner in which he executed the task they imposed upon him, fully justified their request. With his wonted modesty he thus speaks of the motives by which he was influenced :

“ Sir Henry Wotton was a branch of such a kindred as left a stock of reputation to their posterity ; such reputation as might kindle a generous emulation in strangers, and preserve a noble ambition in those of his name and family to perform actions worthy of their ancestors. And that Šir Henry Wotton did so, might appear more perfectly than my pen can express it, if, of his many surviving friends, some one of higher parts and employment, had been pleased to have commended his to posterity; but since some years are now past, and they have all (I know not why) forborne to do it, my gratitude to the memory of my dead friend, and the renewed request of ones that still lives (Mr. Nicholas Oudert) solicitous to see this duty performed; these have had a power to persuade me to undertake it; which truly I have not done but with some distrust of mine own abilities, and yet so far from despair, that I am modestly confident my humble language shall be accepted, because I present all readers with a commixture of truth, and Sir Henry Wotton's merits.”

The first edition of the “ Reliquiæ Wottoniana" was dedicated to Mary Baroness Wotton, daughter of Sir Arthur Throckmorton, and widow of Thomas, second Lord Wotton, of Marley, the nephew of Sir Henry Wotton, and to her three daughters, Katherine, wife of Henry Lord Stanhope, (eldest son of Philip, first Earl of Chesterfield), who was afterwards created Countess of Chesterfield for life; Margaret, wife of Sir John Tufton; and Ann, the wife of Sir Edward Hales. Walton's dedication has the

[ocr errors]

25 In the first two editions of the “Reliquiae Wottonianæ," this passage is so written; and “Mr. Nic. Oudert” only is referred to; but in the third edition, printed in 1672, it is altered to “of some that still live," and the marginal note is as follows, “Sir Edward Bish, Clarentieux King of Arms, Mr. Charles Cotton, and Mr. Nic. Oudert, sometime Sir Henry Wotton's servant.”


singular merit of being free from the servility and nauseous flattery by which similar productions were then, and have since been, too often defaced : he says,

Since books seem by custom to challenge a dedication, justice would not allow, that what either was, or concerned Sir Henry Wotton, should be appropriated to any other persons ; not only for that nearness of alliance and blood (by which you may challenge a civil right to what was his ;) but, by a title of that entireness of affection, which was in you to each other, when Sir Henry Wotton had a being upon earth. And since yours was a friendship made up of generous principles, as I cannot doubt but these endeavours to preserve his memory will be acceptable to all that loved him; so especially to you, from whom I have had such encouragements as hath emboldened me to this dedication. Which you are most humbly entreated may be accepted from “ Your very real servant,

“ I. W.

The life of Wotton was very hastily printed, the cause of which is not mentioned ; and the author deprecates censure for any incongruities by saying that “the printer fetched it so fast by pieces from the relator, that he never saw what he had writ

all together till it was past the press. In the memoir he apologizes for some deficiencies in consequence of the State Paper Office “having now suffered a strange alienation ;'26 and he adds, “indeed I want time too, for the printer's press stays for what is written;" but as the work ran through several editions, he was enabled to correct the memoir; and in no department of literature is the opportunity of improving a first edition so necessary as in History or Biography. Nearly every line of works of that nature contains either a date or a fact, accuracy

in which must be attained by repeated revision; and they can only be rendered complete, by the introduction, from time to time, of such information as subsequent discoveries may bring to light.

A congeniality of disposition and pursuits, particularly in that of Angling, produced a great intimacy between


26 Walton's Lives, ed. Zouch, I. 239. 27 See the Complete Angler, p. 77.

Walton and Wotton; and he was probably the “friend” who is alluded to in the following lines in Wotton's “Description of the Spring, on a Bank, as I sat a Fishing :”

“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." Two letters from Sir Henry Wotton to Walton are inserted in the “Reliquiæ Wottonianæ,” the dates of which

“ are not preserved. The first in answer to Walton's request that he would write the life of their common friend Dr. Donne, has been noticed; but the second letter, in which he sent Walton the following beautiful Hymn written at night during a severe illness, exhibits the estimation in which his society and virtues were held by that eminent person, in vivid colours :

My worthy Friend, “Since I last saw you, I have been confined to my chamber by a quotidian fever, I thank God, of more contumacy than malignity. It had once left me, as I thought, but it was only to fetch more company, returning with a surcrew of those splenetic vapours, that are called hypochondriacal; of which most say the cure is good company; and I desire no better physician than yourself. I have in one of those fits endeavoured to make it more easy by composing a short Hymn; and since I have apparelled my best thoughts so lightly as in verse, I hope I shall be pardoned a second vanity, if I communicate it with such a friend as yourself; to whom I wish a cheerful spirit, and a thankful heart to value it, as one of the greatest blessiugs of our good God, in whose dear love I leave you, remaining,

“ Your poor friend to serve you,

“H. WOTTON.”:28


Oh thou great Power! in whom I move,
For whom I live, to whom I die,
Behold me through thy beams of love,
Whilst on this couch of tears I lie ;

And cleanse my sordid soul within,

By thy Christ's blood, the bath of sin.
No hallowed oils, no grains I need,
No rags of saints, no purging fire,

28 Ed. 1685, pp. 361, 362.

« AnteriorContinuar »