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C.N. Douglas, comp.  Forty Thousand Quotations: Prose and Poetical.  1917.
 
Izaak Walton
 
        O! the gallant fisher’s life,
  It is the best of any:
’Tis full of pleasure, void of strife
  And ’tis beloved by many.
    Other joys
    Are but toys;
    Only this,
    Lawful is;
    For our skill
    Breeds no ill,
But content and pleasure.
  1
        The first men that our Saviour dear
Did choose to wait upon Him here,
Blest fishers were; and fish the last
Food was, that He on earth did taste:
  I therefore strive to follow those,
  Whom He to follow Him hath chose.
  2
  A companion that feasts the company with wit and mirth, and leaves out the sin which is usually mixed with them, he is the man; and let me tell you, good company and good discourse are the very sinews of virtue.  3
  And let me tell you that every misery I miss is a new blessing.  4
  Angling is somewhat like poetry; men are to be born so.  5
  Blessings we enjoy daily; and for most of them, because they be so common, most men forget to pay their praises; but let not us, because it is a sacrifice so pleasing to Him that made the sun and us, and still protects us, and gives us flowers and showers and meat and content.  6
  Doubt not but angling will prove to be so pleasant, that it will prove to be, like virtue, a reward to itself.  7
  Good company and good discourse are the very sinews of virtue.  8
  He that loses his conscience has nothing left that is worth keeping. Therefore be sure you look to that, and in the next place look to your health; and if you have it, praise God and value it next to a good conscience.  9
  Health is the second blessing that we mortals are capable of: a blessing that money cannot buy.  10
  I have known a very good fisher angle diligently four or six hours for a river carp, and not have a bite.  11
  I love such mirth as does not make friends ashamed to look upon one another next morning.  12
  I regard them, as Charles the Emperor did Florence, that they are too pleasant to be looked upon except on holidays.  13
  It was wisely said, by a man of great observation, that there are as many miseries beyond riches as on this side of them.  14
  Let us be thankful for health and competence, and, above all, for a quiet conscience.  15
  Let us not repine, or so much as think the gifts of God unequally dealt, if we see another abound with riches, when, as God knows, the cares that are the keys that keep those riches hang often so heavily at the rich man’s girdle that they dog him with weary days and restless nights, even when others sleep quietly.  16
  Look to your health; and if you have it, praise God, and value it next to a good conscience.  17
  Lord, what music hast thou provided for Thy saints in heaven, when Thou affordest bad men such music on earth!  18
  No man can lose what he never had.  19
  So long as thou art ignorant, be not ashamed to learn. Ignorance is the greatest of all infirmities; and when justified, the chiefest of all follies.  20
 
 
  That which is everybody’s business is nobody’s business.  21
  We may say of angling as Dr. Boteler 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.  22
  We see but the outside of a rich man’s happiness; few consider him to be like the silkworm, that, when she seems to play, is at the very same time consuming herself.  23
 
 
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