Page images

Printed at London by Richard Johnes,

Anno 1572."


I am content to bend my pen,

In rurall ryme to paynte
The tale that thou haste toulde to me,

And of thy hevy playnt;

And wyll denie in hermonie

Contention for to make;
I bet the playne songe, no whit els

To pricke do undertake.

To set in partes the learned must,

That art can rightly use,
And let them descant who so list,

That my good wyll refuse.

Thou toldest me of his vertuous lyfe

A tale both long and wyse,
And how that God preserved hym

In many an enterprise.

How styll by friendship he dyd seeke

His foes his friends to make;
And their redoubled shames came on,
As they dyd brew to bake.

&c. &c.



PERHAPS there does not exist in the circle of English Literature a rarer book than this which I am about to describe. It is quoted no where but by Isaac Walton, in his Complete Angler, where it is ascribed to Jo. Davors, esq. Of this person I can no where find any account. He has even escaped the indefatigable penetration and industry of Ritson. The book is so rare that Sir John Hawkins confesses he could never procure a sight of it.

My friend Mr. Douce had given me the opportunity of describing it, when I afterwards found a less perfect copy in the British Museum.



The choicest tooles, baits and seasons for the taking of any fisii

, in pond or river, practised, and familiarly opened in three Bookes. By J. D. Esquire.

Augmented with many approved experiments, by W. Lauson.

London. Printed by T. H. for John Harison, and are to be sold by Francis Coles, at his Shop in the Old Bayly. 1652."


As I never heard of any other copies than that of Mr. Douce, and one belonging to the Museum, and as I know the book has eluded the diligent researches of some of our most acute and persevering collectors, I think the following specimen will be acceptable, at least to the lovers of the Art of Angling :


Now that the Angler may the better know
Where he may find each fish he may require;
Since some delight in waters still and slow,
And some do love the mud and slimy mire;
Some others where the stream doth swiftly flow,
Some stony ground, and gravell some desire :

Here shall he learn how every sort doth seeke
To haunt the layre that doth his nature like.

Carp, Eele, and Tench do love a muddy ground,
Eeles under stones or hollow roots do lie,
The Tench among thick weeds is soonest found,
The fearfull Carp into the deep doth flie,
Bream, Chub, and Pike, where clay and sand abound,
Pike loves great pooles and places full of frie:

The Chub delights in stream or shady tree,
And tender Bream in broadest lake to be.

The Salmon swift the rivers sweet doth like,
Where largest streams into the sea are led,
The spotted Trout the smaller brooke doth seek,
And in the deepest hole there hides his head,

The prickled Pearch in every hollow creek
Hard by the banke and sandy shore is fed,



Pearch, Tròut, and Salmon love clean waters all,
Green weedy roots, and stony gravel small.
So doth the Bulhead, Gudyion, and the Loch,
Who most in shallow brooks delight to be;
The Ruffe, the Dace, the Barbell, and the Roch,
Gravell and sand do love in lesse degree,
But to the deep and shade do more approach,
And over head some covert love to see

Of spreading poplar, oake, or willow green,
Where underneath they lurke for being seene.

The mighty Luce great waters haunts alway,
And in the stillest place thereof doth lie,
Save when he rangeth forth to seek his prey,
And swift among the fearful fish do flie;
The dainty Humber loves the marley clay,
And clearest streams of champion country nigh.

And in the chiefest pooles thereof doth rest,

Where he is soonest found, and taken best.
The Cavender amidst the waters faire,
In swiftest streams doth most himself bestowe,
The Shad and Tweat do rather like the laire
Of brackish waves, where it doth ebb and flow,
And thither also doth the Flock repaire,
And Hat upon the bottome lieth low.

The Peele, the Mullet, and the Suants good
Do like the same, and therein seek their food.

But here experience doth my skill exceed,
Since divers countries divers rivers have,
And divers rivers change of waters breed,
And change of waters sundry fish do crave,
And sundry fish in divers places feed,
As best doth like them in the liquid wave.


So that by use and practice may be known,
More than by art or skill can well be shown.

So then it shall be needlesse to declare
What sundry kinds there lie in secret store,
And where they do resort, and what they are,

be still discovered more and more; Let him that list no pain nor trouble spare To seek them out as I have done before,

And then it shall not discontent his minde
How choice of place and change of game to finde.

This curious tract has been ascribed to the pen of the celebrated Dr. Donne. See Sir John Hawkins's edition of Walton's Complete Angler, 1775. p. 153, note. At the end of this volume is a sort of Appendix, having the signature of R. R. This Sir John supposes to mean R. Roe. It should seem, that scarce as it really is, there were two editions of this work.


THIS old English Poet is slightly mentioned by Ritson, in his Catalogue of English Poets, and somewhat more at length by Mr. Bridges, in his improved edition of Philips's Theatrum Poetarum. Mr. Ellis had probably not seen any of his per


« PreviousContinue »