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it stops not the high soaring of my noble, generous falcon; in it she ascends to such a height as the dull eyes of beasts and fish are not able to reach to ; their bodies are too gross for such high elevations; in the air my troops of hawks soar up on high, and when they are lost in the sight of men, then they attend upon and converse with the gods ; therefore I think my eagle is so justly styled Jove's servant in ordinary; and that very falcon that I am now going to see, deserves no meaner a title, for she usually in her flight endangers herself, like the son of Dædalus, to have her wings scorched by the sun's heat, she flies so near it, but her mettle makes her careless of danger; for she then heeds nothing, but makes her nimble pinions cut the fluid air, and so makes her highway over the steepest mountains and deepest rivers, and in her glorious career looks with contempt upon those high steeples and magnificent palaces which we adore and wonder at; from which height I can make her to descend by a word from my mouth, which she both knows and obeys, to accept of meat from my hand, to own me for her master, to go home with me, and be willing the next day to afford me the like recreation.
And more: this element of air which I profess to trade in, the worth of it is such, and it is of such necessity, that no creature whatsoever, not only those numerous creatures that. feed on the face of the earth, but those various creatures that. have their dwelling within the waters, every creature that hath life in its nostrils, stands in need of my element. The waters cannot preserve the fish without air,—witness the not. breaking of ice in an extreme frost : the reason is, for that if the inspiring and expiring organ of any animal be stopped, it. suddenly yields to nature, and dies. Thus necessary is air to. the existence both of fish and beasts, nay, even to man himself ;; that air, or breath of life with which God at first inspired mankind, he, if he wants it, dies presently, becomes a sad object to all that loved and beheld him, and in an instant, turns to putrefaction.
Nay more, the very birds of the air, those that be not,
hawks, are both so many and so useful and pleasant to mankind, that I must not let them pass without some observations. They both feed and refresh him-feed him with their choice bodies and refresh him with their heavenly voices. I will not undertake to mention the several kinds of fowl by which this is done—these I will pass by; but not those little nimble musicians of the air that warble forth their arious ditties, with which nature hath furnished them to the shame of art.
As first the lark, when she means to rejoice, to cheer herself, and those that hear her; she then quits the earth, and sings as she ascends higher into the air, and having ended her heavenly employment, grows then mute and sad, to think she must descend to the dull earth, which she would not touch, but for necessity.
How do the blackbird and thrassel, with their melodious voices, bid welcome to the cheerful spring, and in their fixed months warble forth such ditties as no art or instrument can reach to!
Nay, the smaller birds also do the like in their particular seasons, as, namely, the laverock, the titlark, the little linnet, and the honest robin, that loves mankind both alive and dead.
But the nightingale, another of my airy creatures, breathes such sweet loud music out of her little instrumental throat, that it might make mankind to think miracles had not ceased. He that at midnight, when the very labourer sleeps securely, should hear, as I have very often, the clear airs, the sweet descants, the natural rising and falling, the doubling and redoubling of her voice, might well be lifted above earth, and say, “Lord, what music hast Thou provided for the saints in heaven, when Thou affordest bad men such music on earth ?'
Ven. Well, sir, and I will now take my turn, and will first begin with a commendation of the earth, as you have done most excellently of the air ; the earth being that element
upon which I drive my pleasant, wholesome, hungry trade. The earth is a solid, settled elementan element most universally beneficial both to man and beast : to men who have their several recreations upon it, as horse-racing, hunting, sweet smells, pleasant walks : the earth feeds man, and all those several beasts that both feed him, and afford him recreation. What pleasure doth man take in hunting the stately stag, the generous buck, the wild boar, the cunning otter, the crafty fox, and the fearful hare ! How doth the earth bring forth herbs, flowers, and fruits, both for physic and the pleasure of mankind ! and above all, to me at least, the fruitful vine, of which, when I drink moderately, it clears my brain, cheers my heart, and sharpens my wit. How could Cleopatra have feasted Mark Antony with eight wild boars roasted whole at one supper, and other meat suitable, if the earth had not been a bountiful mother? But to pass by the mighty elephant, which the earth breeds and nourisheth, and descend to the least of creatures, how doth the earth afford us a doctrinal example in the little pismire, who in the summer provides and lays up her winter provision, and teaches man to do the like! The earth feeds and carries those horses that carry us. If I would be prodigal of my time and your patience, what might I not say in commendation of the earth ? that puts limits to the proud and raging sea, and by that means preserves both man and beast, that it destroys them not, as we see it daily doth those that venture upon the sea, and are there shipwrecked, drowned, and left to feed haddocks; when we, that are so wise as to keep ourselves on earth, walk and talk and live, and eat and drink, and go a-hunting: of which recreation I will say a little, and then leave Mr. Piscator to the commendation of angling.
Hunting is a game for princes and noble persons ; it hath been highly prized in all ages; it was one of the qualifications that Xenophon bestowed on his Cyrus, that he was a hunter of wild beasts. Hunting trains up the younger nobility to the use of manly exercises in their riper age.
What more manly exercise than hunting the wild boar, the stag, the huck, the fox, or the hare? How doth it preserve health, and increase strength and activity !
And for the dogs that we use, who can commend their excellency to that height which they deserve? How perfect is the hound at smelling, who never leaves or forsakes his first scent, but follows it through so many changes and varieties of other scents, even over and in the water, and into the earth! What music doth a pack of dogs then make to any man, whose heart and ears are so happy as to be set to the tune of such instruments! How will a right greyhound fix his eye on the best buck in a herd, single him out, and follow him, and him only, through a whole herd of rascal game, and still know and then kill him! For my hounds, I know the language of them, and they know the language and meaning of one another, as perfectly as we know the voices of those with whom we discourse daily.
I might enlarge myself in the commendation of hunting, and of the noble hound especially, as also of the docibleness of dogs in general; and I might make many observations of land creatures, that for composition, order, figure, and constitution, approach nearest to the completeness and understanding of man ; especially of those creatures which Moses in the law permitted to the Jews, which have cloven hoofs and chew the cud; which I shall forbear to name, because I will not be so uncivil to Mr. Piscator, as not to allow him a time for the commendation of angling, which he calls an art; but doubtless it is an easy one; and, Mr. Auceps, I doubt we shall hear a watery discourse of it, but I hope it will not be a long one.
Auc. And I hope so too, though I fear it will.
Pisc. Gentlemen, let not prejudice prepossess you. I confess my discourse is like to prove suitable to my recreation, calm and quiet ; we seldom take the name of God into our mouths but it is either to praise Him or pray to Him ; if others use it vainly in the midst of their recreations, so vainly as if they meant to conjure, I must tell you that it is neither our fault nor our custom ; we protest against it. But pray remember, I accuse nobody ; for as I would not make a 'watery discourse,' sɔ I would not put too much vinegar into it, nor would I raise the reputation of my own art by the diminution or ruin of another's. And so much for the prologue to what I mean to say.
And now for the water, the element that I trade in. The water is the eldest daughter of the creation, the element upon
which the Spirit of God did first move, the element which God commanded to bring forth living creatures abundantly; and without which, those that inhabit the land, even all creatures that have breath in their nostrils, must suddenly return to putrefaction. Moses, the great lawgiver, and chief