Sir Henry Wotton was a most dear lover and a frequent practiser of the Art of Angling; of which he would say, T was an employment for his idle time, which was then not idly spent, a rest to his mind, a cheerer of his spirits, a diverter of sadness, a calmer of unquiet thoughts, a moderator of passions, a procurer of contentedness; and that it begat habits of peace and patience in those that professed and practised it.
We may say of angling as Dr. Boteler2 said of strawberries: Doubtless God could have made a better berry, but doubtless God never did; and so, if I might be judge, God never did make a more calm, quiet, innocent recreation than angling.
Thus use your frog: put your hookI mean the arming wirethrough his mouth and out at his gills, and then with a fine needle and silk sew the upper part of his leg with only one stitch to the arming wire of your hook, or tie the frogs leg above the upper joint to the armed wire; and in so doing use him as though you loved him.
Ipsa quidem virtus sibimet pulcherrima merces (Virtue herself is her own fairest reward).Silius Italicus (25?99): Punica, lib. xiii. line 663. [back]
Note 2. William Butler, styled by Dr. Fuller in his Worthies (Suffolk) the Æsculapius of our age. He died in 1621. This first appeared in the second edition of The Angler, 1655. Roger Williams, in his Key into the Language of America, 1643, p. 98, says: One of the chiefest doctors of England was wont to say, that God could have made, but God never did make, a better berry. [back]
Note 4. Plato, Aristotle, and Socrates are secretaries of Nature.Howell: Letters, book ii. letter xi. [back]
Note 5. In 1683, the year in which he died, Walton prefixed a preface to a work edited by him: Thealma and Clearchus, a Pastoral History, in smooth and easy verse; written long since by John Chalkhill Esq., an acquaintant and friend of Edmund Spenser.
Chalkhill,a name unappropriated, a verbal phantom, a shadow of a shade. Chalkhill is no other than our old piscatory friend incognito.Zouch: Life of Walton. [back]