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towards yonder high hedge. We'll sit whilst this shower falls so gently upon the teeming earth, and gives a sweeter smell to the lovely flowers that adorn the verdant meadows. Look under that broad beech tree, I sat down when I was last this way a fishing, and the birds in the adjoining grove seemed to have a friendly contention with an echo, whose dead voice seemed to live in a hollow cave, near to the brow of that primrose-hill: there I sat viewing the silver streams glide silently towards their centre, the tempestuous sea ; yet sometimes opposed by rugged roots, and pebble stones, which broke their waves, and turned them into foam ; and sometimes viewing the harmless lambs, some leaping securely in the cool shade, whilst others sported themselves in the cheerful sun; and others were craving comfort from the swollen udders of their bleating dams. As I thus sat these and other sights had so fully possessed my soul, that I thought, as the poet has happily expressed it :
I was for that time lifted above earth;
.' “ As I left this place, and entered into the next field, a second pleasure entertained me, 'twas a handsome milkmaid, that had cast away all care, and sung like a nightingale; her voice was good and the ditty fitted for it; 'twas that smooth song which was made by Kit Marlowe, now at least fifty years ago, and the milk-maid's mother sung an answer to it, which was made by Sir Walter Raleigh in his younger days. They were old fashioned poetry; but choicely good : I think much better than that now in fashion in this critical age. Look yonder, on my word, yonder they be both a milking again; I will give her the chub, and persuade them to sing those two songs for us."
A dialogue then takes place between Piscator and the milk-women:
“ PISCATOR. God speed, good woman, I have been a fishing, and am going to Bleak Hall to my bed, and having caught more fish than will sup myself and friend, will bestow this upon you and your daughter, for I use to sell none. “MILK-woman. Marry, God requite you, Sir, and WOMAN
, we'll eat it cheerfully; and if you come this way a fish
ing two months hence, a grace of God I'll give you a sillibub of new verjuice, in a new made hay-cock, and my Maudlin shall sing you one of her best ballads, for she and I both love all anglers, they be such honest, civil, quiet men ; in the mean time will you drink a draught of red cow's milk, you shall have it freely? “ Piscator. "No, I thank you, but I pray do us a
I courtesy that shall stand you and your daughter in nothing, and we will think ourselves still something in your debt; it is but to sing us a song, that was sung by you and your daughter, when I last past over this meadow, about eight or nine days since.
“ MILK-WOMAN. What song was it, I pray ? was it 'Come, shepherds, deck your heads,' or * As at noon Dulcina rested, or Philida flouts me?'
“ PISCATOR. No, it is none of these: it is a song that your daughter sung the first part, and you sung the answer to it.
“ MILK-WOMAN. Oh, I know it now: I learned the first part in my golden age, when I was about the age of my daughter; and the latter part, which indeed fits me best, but two or three years ago, when the cares of the world began to take hold of me; but you shall, God willing, hear them both. Come, Maudlin, sing the first part to the gentlemen with a merry heart, and I'll sing the second when you have done.”
The milk-maid accordingly sings, and is answered by a song from her mother: Piscator thanks them, and Venator appears to have expressed his gratitude in a more affectionate manner than his sedate companion approved, for his Master observes, “Scholar, let Maudlin alone, do not you offer to spoil her voice. Look, yonder comes my Hostess to call us to supper. How now ? is my
brother Peter come?"
“ Hostess. Yes, and a friend with him, they are both glad to hear you are in these parts, and long to see you, and are hungry, and long to be at supper."
Piscator and Venator then meet “brother Peter," who introduces them to Coridon, “ an honest countryman, a most downright, witty, merry companion that met me here purposely to eat a trout, and to be pleasant.
They sup off the trout which Piscator had caught, with such other meat as the house afforded, moistening their
cheer with “some of the best barley wine, the good liquor that our good honest forefathers did use to drink of, which preserved their health and made them live so long, and to do so many good deeds.”
During their conversation Peter thus eulogized Piscator, “On my word this trout is in perfect season. Come, I
, thank you, and here is a hearty draught to you, and to all
, the brothers of the Angle wheresoever they be, and to my young brother's good fortune to-morrow, I will furnish him with a rod, if you will furnish him with the rest of the tackling, we will set him up and make him a fisher; and I will tell him one thing for his encouragement, that his fortune hath made him happy to be a Scholar to such a Master; a Master that knows as much both of the nature and breeding of fish as any man; and can also tell him as well how to catch and cook them, from the minnow to the salmon, as any that I ever met withal.” To which Piscator
I replied, “ Trust me, brother Peter, I find my scholar to be so suitable to my own humour, which is to be free and pleasant, and civilly merry, that my resolution is to hide nothing that I know from him.”
They then agree to sing several songs and catches, which Venator says, “shall give some addition of mirth to the company, for we will be merry," upon which Piscator observes, 'Tis a match, my masters; let's even say grace, and turn to the fire, drink the other cup to wet our whistles, and so sing away all sad thoughts. Come on, my mas
. ters, who begins ? I think it is best, to draw cuts, and avoid contention.” The lot falls to Coridon who begins, for “ he hates contention.” The song is much admired by Piscator, who says, “ Well sung, Coridon,
Coridon, this song was sung with mettle and was choicely fitted to the occasion ; I shall
for it, as long as I know you : I would you were a brother of the angle, for a companion that is cheerful, and free from swearing and scurrilous discourse, is worth gold. I love such mirth as does not make friends ashamed to look upon one another next morning ; nor men (that cannot well bear it) to repent the money they spend when they be warmed with drink : and take this for a rule, you may pick out such times and such companies, that you may make yourselves merrier for a little, than a great deal of money ; for 'tis the company and not the charge makes the feast : and such a companion you prove, I thank you
for it. But I will not compliment you out of the debt that I owe you, and therefore I will begin my song, and wish it may be as well liked.”
Piscator is also rewarded by the applause of his companions for his song, and after the following dialogue they separate for the night :
“ CORIDON. Well sung, brother, you have paid your debt in good coin, we Anglers are all beholding to the good man that made this song. Come, hostess, give us more ale, and let's drink to him: and now let's every one go to bed, that we may rise early; but first let's pay our reckoning, for I will have nothing to hinder me in the morning, for my purpose is to prevent the sun-rising.
“ Peter. A match : Come, Coridon, you are to be my bed-fellow : I know, brother, you and your scholar will lie together; but where shall we meet to-morrow night? for my friend Coridon and I will go up the water towards Ware.
“ PISCATOR. And my scholar and I will go down towards Waltham.
“ CORIDON. Then let's meet here, for here are fresh sheets that smell of lavender; and I am sure we cannot expect better meat, or better usage in any place.
“ PETER. 'Tis a match. Good night to every body.”
The Fourth day is thus introduced :
“ PISCATOR. Good morrow, good hostess, I see my brother Peter is still in bed. Come, give my scholar and me a morning-drink, and a bit of meat to breakfast, and be sure to get a dish of meat or two against supper, for we shall come home as hungry as hawks. Come, scholar, let's be going.
“ VENATOR. Well now, good master, as we walk towards the river, give me direction according to your promise, how I shall fish for a Trout.
“ PISCATOR. My honest scholar, I will take this very convenient opportunity to do it.”
Then follow Piscator's directions on the subject, which occupy the time until past five o'clock, when their walk is stopped by the river, on the bank of which they sit, under a honeysuckle hedge, whilst Piscator finds a line to fit the rod which Peter had lent Venator.
They agree to fish until nine, and then go to breakfast.
After fishing for some time they “ say grace and fall to breakfast,” and Piscator asks, “What say you, scholar, to the providence of an old angler? Does not this meat taste well ? and was not this place well chosen to eat it; for this sycamore tree will shade us from the sun's heat ?" Their meal suggests reflections on temperance in eating ; and Piscator proceeds with his instructions, but as a heavy shower falls they again take shelter under the sycamore tree. When it had done raining, Piscator called his scholar's attention to the appearance of the fields, and introduced Herbert's poem, which is scarcely exceeded in beauty and pathos by any similar composition in our language, commencing
“Sweet day, so cool, so calm, so bright,
For thou must die."
Venator's praise of these verses induces him to repeat others by Christopher Harvie, on the book of Common Prayer, which he says his scholar will like the better because the author " is a friend of mine, and I am sure no enemy to Angling.” Their rods during this time are “ left in the water to fish for themselves," which, he says, is “ like putting money to use, for they work for the owners when they do nothing but sleep, or eat, or rejoice.” “You know," he observes, “ that we have during this last hour, sat as quietly and as free from cares under this sycamore, as Virgil's Tityrus and his Melibæus did under their broad beech tree : no life, my honest scholar, no life so happy and so pleasant, as the life of a well-governed angler; for when the lawyer is swallowed up with business, and the statesman is preventing or contriving plots, we sit on cowslip banks, hear the birds sing, and possess ourselves in as much quietness as these silver streams which we now see glide by us."
Piscator then enlivens their conversation by relating an anecdote of some gipsies, and recites a song that was written about forty years before by Francis Davison, which he says he heard sung by one of the said gipsies, “the youngest and veriest virgin of the company.” They afterwards go to their rods, and fish until the rain again drives them to the sycamore tree; when Piscator continues