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they say, to suppress it, though, if he offspring, and says he is a fish that feeds disliked it enough, he might forbear to clean and purely, in the swiftest streams, be present at it. There are three festival and on the hardest gravel; and that he days in the year, whereof midsummer is may justly contend with all fresh-water one, on which the people hold it to be fish, as the mullet may with all sea-fish, their right to be treated with these spec- for precedency and daintiness of taste, tacles, not only in great cities, where they and that being in right season, the most are never disappointed, but in very ordi- dainty palates have allowed precedency nary towns, where there are places pro- to him. vided for it. Besides those ordinary And before I go further in my discourse, annual days, upon any extraordinary let me tell you, that you are to observe, accident of joy, as at this time for the that as there be some barren does that are arrival of the queen, upon the birth of the good in summer, so there be some barren king's children, or any signal victory, trouts that are good in winter; but there these triumphs are repeated, which no are not many that are so, for usually they ecclesiastical censures or authority can be in their perfection in the month of May, suppress or discountenance. For pope and decline with the buck. Now you are Pius the Fifth, in the time of Philip the to take notice that in several countries, as Second, and very probably with his ap- in Germany and in other parts, compared probation, if not upon his desire, published to ours, fish differ much in their bigness a bull against the toros in Spain, which is and shape, and other ways, and so do still in force, in which he declared, that trouts: it is well known that in the Lake nobody should be capable of Christian Leman, the Lake of Geneva, there are burial who lost his life at those spectacles, trouts taken of three cubits long, as is and that every clergyman who should be affirmed by Gesner, a writer of good credit; present at them stood excommunicated and Mercator says the trouts that are ipso facto, and yet there is always one of taken in the Lake of Geneva are a great the largest galleries assigned to the office part of the merchandise of that famous of the inquisition and the chief of the city. And you are further to know that clergy, which is always filled; besides that there be certain waters that breed trouts many religious men in their habits get remarkable both for their number and other places; only the Jesuits, out of their smallness. I know a little brook in Kent submission to the supreme authority of the that breeds them to a number incredible, pope, are never present there, but on those and you may take them twenty or forty days do always appoint some solemn in an hour, but none greater than about exercise to be performed, that obliges their the size of a gudgeon: there are also in whole body to be together.
divers rivers, especially that relate to or
be near to the sea, as Winchester or the IZAAK WALTON
Thames about Windsor, a little trout
called a samlet or skegger trout (in both TROUT AND TROUT FISHING which places I have caught twenty or
forty at a standing), that will bite as fast From THE COMPLEAT ANGLER
and as freely as minnows; these be by The trout is a fish highly valued both some taken to be young salmons; but in in this and foreign nations: he may be those waters they never grow to be bigger justly said, as the old poet said of wine, than a herring and we English say of venison, to be a There is also in Kent, near to Cantergenerous fish: a fish that is so like the bury, a trout called there a Fordidge trout, buck that he also has his seasons; for it a trout that bears the name of the town is observed, that he comes in and goes where it is usually caught, that is acout of season with the stag and buck. counted the rarest of fish; many of them Gesner says his name is of a German near the bigness of salmon, but known by
their different colour; and in their best to fly in England for six months in the season they cut very white; and none of year, but about Michaelmas leave us for these have been known to be caught with a better climate than this; yet some of an angle, unless it were one that was them that have been left behind their caught by Sir George Hastings, an excel- fellows, have been found many thousands lent angler, and now with God: and he at a time, in hollow trees, or clay caves; hath told me, he thought that trout bit where they have been observed to live not for hunger but wantonness; and it is and sleep out the whole winter without rather to be believed, because both he then, meat; and so Albertus observes, that and many others before him, have been there is one kind of frog that hath her . curious to search into their bellies, what mouth naturally shut up about the end the food was by which they lived, and of August, and that she lives so all the have found out nothing by which they winter; and though it be strange to some, might satisfy their curiosity.
yet it is known to too many among us Concerning which you are to take notice to be doubted. that it is reported by good authors that And so much for these Fordidge trouts, grasshoppers and some fish have no which never afford an angler sport, but mouths, but are nourished and take either live their time of being in the fresh breath by the porousness of their gills, water, by their meat formerly got in the man knows not how: and this may be sea (not unlike the swallow or frog), or believed, if we consider that when the by the virtue of the fresh water only; raven hath hatched her eggs, she takes or, as the birds of Paradise and the chameno further care, but leaves her young leon are said to live by the sun and the air. ones to the care of the God of nature, There is also in Northumberland a trout who is said, in the Psalms, “to feed the called a bull trout, of a much greater young ravens that call upon him.” And length and bigness than any in the southern they be kept alive and fed by dew, or parts. And there are, in many rivers that worms that breed in their nests, or some relate to the sea, salmon trouts, as much other ways that we mortals know not; different from others, both in shape and and this may be believed of the Fordidge in their spots, as we see sheep in some trout, which, as it is said of the stork countries differ one from another in their (Jerem. viii. 7), that “ he knows his season,” shape and bigness, and in the fineness of so he knows his times, I think almost his their wool. And certainly, as some
, day of coming into that river out of the pastures breed larger sheep, so do some sea, where he lives, and, it is like, feeds rivers, by reason of the ground over which nine months of the year, and fasts three they run, breed larger trouts. in the river of Fordidge. And you are Now the next thing that I will commend to note that those townsmen are very to your consideration is that the trout is punctual in observing the time of begin- of a more sudden growth than other fish. ning to fish for them, and boast much that Concerning which, you are also to take their river affords a trout that exceeds all notice that he lives not so long as the perch others. And just so does Sussex boast of and divers other fishes do, as Sir Francis several fish: as namely, a Shelsey cockle, Bacon hath observed in his History of Life a Chichester lobster, an Arundel mullet, and Death. and an Amerly trout.
And now you are to take notice that And now for some confirmation of the he is not like the crocodile, which if he Fordidge trout: you are to know that lives never so long, yet always thrives this trout is thought to eat nothing in till his death; but 'tis not so with the the fresh water; and it may be better trout; for after he is come to his full believed, because it is well known that growth, he declines in his body, and keeps swallows and bats and wagtails, which his bigness or thrives only in his head till are called half-year birds, and not seen his death. And you are to know that he
will about, especially before, the time of is not usual: and it is a note observable, his spawning, get almost miraculously that the female trout hath usually a less through weirs and floodgates against the head and a deeper body than the male streams; even through such high and trout, and is usually the better meat. swift places as is almost incredible. Next, And note that a hogback and a little head that the trout usually spawns about to either trout, salmon, or any other fish, October or November, but in some rivers is a sign that that fish is in season. a little sooner or later; which is the more But yet you are to note that as you see observable, because most other fish spawn some willows or palm-trees bud and blosin the spring or summer, when the sun som sooner than others do, so some trouts hath warmed both the earth and the water, be in rivers sooner in season; and as some and made it fit for generation. And you hollies or oaks are longer before they cast are to note, that he continues many their leaves, so are some trouts in rivers months out of season; for it may be ob- longer before they go out of season. served of the trout, that he is like the buck And you are to note that there are sevor the ox, that will not be fat in many eral kinds of trouts; but these several months, though he go in the very same kinds are not considered but by very few pasture that horses do, which will be fat in
men; for they go under the general name one month; and so you may observe that of trouts; just as pigeons do in most most other fishes recover strength, and grow places; though it is certain there are tame sooner fat and in season, than the trout doth. and wild pigeons; and of the tame, there
And next you are to note that till the be helmets and runts, and carriers and sun gets to such a height as to warm the cropers, and indeed too many to name. earth and the water, the trout is sick Nay, the Royal Society have found and and lean, and lousy, and unwholesome; published lately that there be thirty and for you shall in winter find him to have three kinds of spiders; and yet all, for a big head, and then to be lank, and thin, aught I know, go under that one general and lean; at which time many of them name of spider. And it is so with many have sticking on them sugs, or trout-lice, kinds of fish, and of trouts especially, which which is a kind of worm, in shape like a differ in their bigness and shape and spots clove or pin, with a big head, and sticks and color. The great Kentish hens may close to him and sucks his moisture: those be an instance, compared to other hens. I think the trout breeds himself, and never And, doubtless, there is a kind of small thrives till he free himself from them, which trout, which will never thrive to be big, is when warm weather comes; and then, that breeds very many more than others as he grows stronger, he gets from the do, that be of a larger size; which you may dead, still water, into the sharp streams rather believe if you consider that the little and the gravel, and there rubs off these wren and titmouse will have twenty young worms or lice; and then as he grows ones at a time, when usually the noble stronger, so he gets him into swifter and hawk or the musical thrassel or blackbird swifter streams, and there lies at the watch exceed not four or five. for any fly or minnow that comes near to And now you shall see me try my skill him; and he especially loves the May-fly, to catch a trout; and at my next walking, which is bred of the cod-worm or caddis; either this evening or to-morrow morning, and these make the trout bold and lusty, I will give you direction how you yourself and he is usually fatter and better meat at shall fish for him. that end of that month (May] than at any VENATOR (The HUNTER). Trust me, time of the year.
master, I see now it is a harder matter to Now you are to know that it is observed catch a trout than a chub; for I have that usually the best trouts are either red put on patience and followed you these or yellow; though some (as the Fordidge two hours, and not seen a fish stir, neither trout) be white and yet good; but that at your minnow nor your worm.
Piscator (The ANGLER). Well, scholar, ing. And the birds in the adjoining grove you must endure worse luck some time, or seemed to have a friendly contention with you will never make a good angler. But an echo, whose dead voice seemed to live what say you now? There is a trout now, in a hollow tree, near to the brow of that and a good one too, if I can but hold him, primrose hill. There I sat viewing the and two or three more turns more will tire silver streams glide silently towards their him. Now you see he lies still, and the center, the tempestuous sea; yet somesleight is to land him. Reach me that times opposed by rugged roots and pebblelanding-net; so, sir, now he is mine own. stones, which broke their waves, and What say you now? is not this worth turned them into foam. And sometimes all my labor and your patience?
I beguiled time by viewing the harmless Ven. On my word, master, this is a lambs; some leaping securely in the cool gallant trout: what shall we do with him ? shade, whilst others sported themselves
Pisc. Marry, e'en eat him to supper : in the cheerful sun; and saw others cravwe'll go to my hostess, from whence we ing comfort from the swollen udders of came; she told me, as I was going out their bleating dams. As I thus sat, these of door, that my brother Peter, a good and other sights had so fully possessed angler and a cheerful companion, had my soul with content, that I thought, as sent word that he would lodge there to- the poet hath happily expressed it, night, and bring a friend with him. My I was for that time lifted above earth, hostess has two beds, and I know you and
And possessed joys not promised in my I may have the best; we'll rejoice with
birth. my brother Peter and his friend, tell tales, or sing ballads, or make a catch, or find As I left this place, and entered into some harmless sport to content us and the next field, a second pleasure enterpass away a little time, without offense tained me; 'twas a handsome milkmaid, to God or man.
that had not yet attained so much age and VEN. A match, good master, let's go wisdom as to load her mind with any fears to that house, for the linen looks white of many things that will never be, as too and smells of lavender, and I long to many men too often do; but she cast lie in a pair of sheets that smells so.
away all care, and sang like a nightingale: be going, good master, for I am hungry her voice was good, and the ditty fitted for again with fishing.
it: it was that smooth song which was Pisc. Nay, stay a little, good scholar. made by Kit Marlow, now at least fifty I caught my last trout with a worm; now years ago; and the milkmaid's mother I will put on a minnow, and try a quarter sang an answer to it, which was made by of an hour about yonder trees for an- Sir Walter Raleigh in his younger days. other; and so walk towards our lodging. They were old-fashioned poetry, but Look you, scholar, thereabout we shall choicely good; I think much better than have a bite presently or not at all. Have the strong lines that are now in fashion with you, sir! o' my word I have hold in this critical age. Look yonder; on my of him. Oh! it is a great logger-headed word, yonder they both be a-milking chub; come hang him upon that willow again. I will give her the chub, and pertwig, and let's be going. But turn out suade them to sing those two songs to us. of the way a little, good scholar, towards God speed you, good woman! I have yonder high honeysuckle hedge; there been a-fishing and am going to Bleak we'll sit and sing, whilst this shower Hall to my bed, and having caught more falls so gently upon the teeming earth, fish than will sup myself and friend, I and gives yet a sweeter smell to the lovely will bestow this upon you
your flowers that adorn these verdant meadows. daughter, for I use to sell none.
Look! under that broad beech-tree I Milk-W. Marry, God requite you, sir, sat down, when I was last this way a-fish- and we'll eat it cheerfully; and if you
this way a-fishing two months A cap of flowers, and a kirtle hence, a grace of God, I'll give you a Embroidered all with leaves of myrtle; syllabub of new verjuice in a new-made hay-cock for it, and my Maudlin shall A gown made of the finest wool sing you one of her best ballads; for she Which from our pretty lambs we pull; and I both love all anglers, they be such Slippers lined choicely for the cold, honest, civil, quiet men: in the meantime With buckles of the purest gold; will you drink a draft of red cow's milk? you shall have it freely.
A belt of straw and ivy-buds, Pisc. No, I thank you; but, I
pray, With coral clasps and amber studs: do us a courtesy that shall stand you and And if these pleasures may thee move, your daughter in nothing, and yet we will Come, live with me, and be my love. think ourselves still something in your debt; it is but to sing us a song that was Thy silver dishes for my meat, sung by your daughter when I last passed As precious as the gods do eat, over this meadow, about eight or nine Shall on an ivory table be days since.
Prepared each day for thee and me. Milk-W. What song was it, I pray? Was it Come, shepherds, deck your heads? The shepherd swains shall dance and sing, or, As at noon Dulcina rested? or, Phil- For thy delight, each May morning. lida flouts me? or, Chevy Chase? or, If these delights thy mind may move, Johnny Armstrong? or, Troy Town? Then live with me, and be my love.
Pisc. No, it is none of those; it is a song that your daughter sang the first Ven. Trust me, master, it is a choice part, and you sang the answer to it.
song, and sweetly sung by honest MaudMILK-W. Oh, I know it now. I lin. I now see it was not without cause learned it the first part in my golden age, that our good Queen Elizabeth did so when I was about the age of my poor often wish herself a milkmaid all the daughter; and the latter part, which month of May, because they are not indeed fits me best now, but two or three troubled with fears and cares, and sing years ago, when the cares of the world sweetly all the day and sleep securely all hegan to take hold of me: but you shall, the night; and without doubt, honest, God willing, hear them both, and sung as innocent, pretty Maudlin does so. I'll well as we can, for we both love anglers. bestow Sir Thomas Overbury's milkmaid's Come, Maudlin, sing the first part to the wish upon her, “That she may die in the gentlemen with a merry heart, and I'll spring, and being dead, may have good sing the second, when you have done. store of flowers stuck round about her
winding-sheet." THE MILKMAID'S SONG
THE MILKMAID'S MOTHER'S ANSWER Come, live with me, and be my love, If all the world and love were young, And we will all the pleasures prove And truth in every shepherd's tongue, That valleys, groves, or hills, or field, These pretty pleasures might me move Or woods and steepy mountains yield; To live with thee, and be thy love.
Where we will sit upon the rocks,
But time drives flocks from field to fold,
And I will make thee beds of roses,
The flowers do fade, and wanton fields