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PISCATOR. Well met, Brother Peter! I heard you and a friend would lodge here to-night, and that hath made me to bring my friend to lodge here too. My friend is one that would fain be a Brother of the Angle: he hath been an Angler but this day, and I have taught him how to catch a Chub by daping with a grass­ hopper; and the Chub he caught was a lusty one of nineteen inches long. But pray, Brother Peter, who is your companion?

PETER. Brother Piscator, my friend is an honest countryman, and his name is Coridon, and he is a downright witty companion, that met me here purposely to be pleasant and eat a Trout; and I have not yet wetted my line since we met together: but I hope to fit him with a Trout for his breakfast, for I'll be early up.

PISC. Nay, brother, you shall not stay so long: for, look you! here is a Trout will fill six reasonable bellies.

Come, Hostess, dress it presently, and get us what other meat the house will afford, and give us some of your best barley-wine, the good liquor that our honest forefathers did use to drink of; the drink which preserved their health, and made them live so long, and do so many good deeds.

PETER. O' my word, this Trout is perfect in season. Come, I thank you, and here is a hearty draught to you, and to all the Brothers of the Angle wheresoever they be, and to my young brother's good fortune to-morrow. I will furnish him with a rod, if you will furnish him with the rest of the tackling; we will set him up and make him a fisher. And I will tell him one thing for his encouragement, that his fortune hath made him happy to be scholar to such a master; a master that knows as much both of the nature and breeding of fish as any man: and can also tell him as well how to catch and cook them, from the Minnow to the Salmon, as any that I ever met withal.

PISC. Trust me, Brother Peter, I find my Scholar to be so suit­ able to my own humor, which is to be free, and pleasant, and civilly merry, that my resolution is to hide nothing that I know from him. Believe me, Scholar, this is my resolution; and so here's to you a hearty draught, and to all that love us, and the honest art of Angling.

VEN. Trust me, good Master, you shall not sow your seed in barren ground; for I hope to return you an increase answerable to your hopes: but, however, you shall find me obedient, and thankful, and serviceable to my best ability.

PISC. 'Tis enough, honest Scholar: come, let's to supper. Come, my friend Coridon, this Trout looks lovely; it was twenty-two inches when it was taken; and the belly of it looked, some part of it as yellow as a marigold, and part of it as white as a lily; and yet methinks it looks better in this good sauce.

CORIDON. Indeed, honest friend, it looks well, and tastes well: I thank you for it, and so doth my friend Peter, or else he is to blame.

PET. Yes, and so I do; we all thank you, and when we have supped, I will get my friend Coridon to sing you a song for requital.

COR. I will sing, if anybody will sing another; else, to be plain with you, I will sing none: I am none of those that sing for meat, but for company: I say, "'Tis merry in hall, when men sing all."

PISC. I'll promise you I'll sing a song that was lately made, at my request, by Mr. William Basse, one that hath made the choice songs of the "Hunter in his career," and of "Tons of Bedlam," and many others of note; and this that I will sing is in praise of Angling.

COR. And then mine shall be the praise of a countryman's life. What will the rest sing of?

PET. I will promise you, I will sing another song in praise of Angling to-morrow night; for we will not part till then; but fish to-morrow, and sup together, and the next day every man leave fishing, and fall to his business.

VEN. 'Tis a match; and I will provide you a song or a catch against then, too, which shall give some addition of mirth to the company; for we will be civil, and as merry as beggars.

PISC. 'Tis a match, my masters. Let's even say grace, and turn to the fire, drink the other cup to wet our whistles, and so sing away all sad thoughts.

Come on, my masters, who begins? I think it is best to draw cuts, and avoid contention.

PET. It is a match. Look, the shortest cut falls to Coridon.

COR. Well, then, I will begin, for I hate contention.


O the sweet contentment

The countryman doth find!
     Heigh trolollie lollie loe,
     Heigh trolollie lee,
That quiet contemplation
Possesseth all my mind:
     Then care away,
     And wend along with me.

For courts are full of flattery,
As hath too oft been tried;
     Heigh trolollie lollie loe, etc.
The city full of wantonness,
And both are full of pride:
     Then care away, etc.

But oh! the honest countryman
Speaks truly from his heart,
     Heigh trolollie lollie loe, etc.
His pride is in his tillage,
His horses, and his cart:
     Then care away, etc.

Our clothing is good sheep-skins,
Gray russet for our wives,
     Heigh trolollie lollie loe, etc.
'Tis warmth, and not gay clothing,
That doth prolong our lives:
     Then care away, etc.

The ploughman, though he labor hard,
Yet on the holiday,
     Heigh trolollie lollie loe, etc.
No emperor so merrily
Does pass his time away:
     Then care away, etc.

To recompense our tillage,
The heavens afford us showers;
     Heigh trolollie lollie loe, etc.
And for our sweet refreshments
The earth affords us bowers:
     Then care away, etc.

The cuckoo and the nightingale
Full merrily do sing,
     Heigh trolollie lollie loe, etc.
And with their pleasant roundelays
Bid welcome to the spring:
     Then care away, etc.

This is not half the happiness
The countryman enjoys;
     Heigh trolollie lollie loe,
     Heigh trolollie lee,
Though others think they have as much,
Yet he that says so lies:
     Then come away, turn
     Countryman with me.
                                  Jo. CHALKHILL

PISC. Well sung! Coridon, this song was sung with mettle; and it was choicely fitted to the occasion: I shall love you for it as long as I know you. I would you were a Brother of the Angle, for a companion that is cheerful, and free from swearing and scurrilous discourse, is worth gold. I love such mirth as does not make friends ashamed to look upon one another next morning; nor men, that cannot well bear it, to repent the money they spend when they be warmed with drink. And take this for a rule, you may pick out such times and such companies, that you may make yourselves merrier for a little than a great deal of money; for "'Tis the com­pany and not the charge that makes the feast": and such a companion you prove; I thank you for it.

But I will not compliment you out of the debt that I owe you, and therefore I will begin my song, and wish it may be so well liked.


As inward love breeds outward talk,

The hound some praise, and some the hawk:
Some, better pleased with private sport,
Use tennis, some a mistress court:
     But these delights I neither wish,
     Nor envy, while I freely fish.

Who hunts, doth oft in danger ride;
Who hawks, lures oft both far and wide;
Who uses games shall often prove
A loser; but who falls in love
     Is fettered in fond Cupid's snare:
     My angle breeds me no such care.

Of recreation there is none
So free as Fishing is alone;
All other pastimes do no less
Than mind and body both possess:
     My hand alone my work can do,
     So I can fish and study too.

I care not, I, to fish in seas;
Fresh rivers best my mind do please,
Whose sweet calm course I contemplate,
And seek in life to imitate:
     In civil bounds I fain would keep,
     And for my past offences weep.

And when the timorous Trout I wait
To take, and he devours my bait,
How poor a thing sometimes I find
Will captivate a greedy mind!
     And when none bite, I praise the wise,
     Whom vain allurements ne'er surprise.

But yet, though while I fish I fast,
I make good fortune my repast;
And thereunto my friend invite,
In whom I more than that delight:
     Who is more welcome to my dish,
     Than to my angle was my fish.

As well content no prize to take,
As use of taken prize to make:
For so our Lord was pleased when
He fishers made fishers of men:
     Where, which is in no other game,
     A man may fish and praise his name.

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.

COR. Well sung, Brother! you have paid your debt in good coin. We Anglers are all beholden to the good man that made this song. Come, Hostess, give us more ale, and let's drink to him.

And now let's every one go to bed that we may rise early: but first let's pay our reckoning, for I will have nothing to hinder me in the morning; for my purpose is to prevent the sun rising.

PET. A match. Come, Coridon, you are to be my bedfellow: I know, Brother, you and your Scholar will lie together. But where shall we meet to-morrow night? for my friend Coridon and I will go up the water towards Ware.

PISC. And my Scholar and I will go down towards Waltham.

COR. Then let's meet here, for here are fresh sheets that smell of lavender; and I am sure we cannot expect better meat or better usage in any place.

PET. 'Tis a match. Good night to everybody!

PISC. And so say I.

VEN. And so say I.

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