Verse > Anthologies > The World’s Best Poetry > Vol. V. Nature
Bliss Carman, et al., eds.  The World’s Best Poetry.
Volume V. Nature.  1904.
III. The Seasons
The Angler
John Chalkhill (fl. 1600?)
O THE GALLANT fisher’s life,
  It is the best of any!
’T is full of pleasure, void of strife,
  And ’t is beloved by many;
      Other joys        5
      Are but toys;
      Only this
      Lawful is;
      For our skill
      Breeds no ill,        10
    But content and pleasure.
*        *        *        *        *
When we please to walk abroad
  For our recreation,
In the fields is our abode,
  Full of delectation,        15
      Where, in a brook,
      With a hook,—
      Or a lake,—
      Fish we take;
      There we sit,        20
      For a bit,
    Till we fish entangle.
We have gentles in a horn,
  We have paste and worms too;
We can watch both night and morn,        25
  Suffer rain and storms too;
      None do here
      Use to swear:
      Oaths do fray
      Fish away;        30
      We sit still,
      Watch our quill:
    Fishers must not wrangle.
If the sun’s excessive heat
  Make our bodies swelter,        35
To an osier hedge we get,
  For a friendly shelter;
      Where, in a dike,
      Perch or pike,
      Roach or dace,        40
      We do chase.
      Bleak or gudgeon,
      Without grudging;
    We are still contented.
Or we sometimes pass an hour        45
  Under a green willow,
That defends us from a shower,
  Making earth our pillow;
      Where we may
      Think and pray,        50
      Before death
      Stops our breath;
      Other joys
      Are but toys,
    And to be lamented.        55

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