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THE COMPLEAT ANGLER
OR, THE CONTEMPLATIVE MAN'S RECREATION
The Second Part
BEING INSTRUCTIONS HOW TO ANGLE
FOR A TROUT OR GRAYLING
IN A CLEAR STREAM
BY CHARLES COTTON
Qui mihi non credit, faciat licet ipse perîclum
Et fuerit scriptis æquior ille meis
TO MY MOST WORTHY FATHER AND FRIEND,
MR. IZAAK WALTON, THE ELDER
BEING you were pleased, some years past, to grant me your free leave to do what I have here attempted, and observing you never retract any promise, when made in favor even of your meanest friends, I accordingly expect to see these following particular directions for the taking of a trout to wait upon your better and more general rules for all sorts of angling: and, though mine be neither so perfect, so well digested, nor indeed so handsomely couched, as they might have been, in so long a time as since your leave was granted, yet I dare affirm them to be generally true; and they had appeared too in something a neater dress, but that I was surprised with the sudden news of a sudden new edition of your Complete Angler; so that, having but a little more than ten days' time to turn me in, and rub up my memory, for, in truth, I have not, in all this long time, though I have often thought on 't, and almost as often resolved to go presently about it, I was forced upon the instant to scribble what I here present you; which I have also endeavored to accommodate to your own method. And, if mine be clear enough for the honest Brothers of the Angle readily to understand, which is the only thing I aim at, then I have my end, and shall need to make no further apology: a writing of this kind not requiring, if I were master of any such thing, any eloquence to set it off or recommend it; so that if you, in your better judgment, or kindness rather, can allow it passable, for a thing of this nature, you will then do me honor, if the Cipher, fixed and carved in the front of my little fishing-house, may be here explained: and to permit me to attend you in public, who, in private, have ever been, am, and ever resolve to be, sir,
Your most affectionate son and servant,
CHARLES COTTONBeresford, 10th of March, 1675-6.
TO MY MOST HONORED FRIEND,
CHARLES COTTON, ESQ.
You now see I have returned you your very pleasant and useful discourse of the Art of Fly-fishing, printed just as it was sent me: for I have been so obedient to your desires, as to endure all the praises you have ventured to fix upon me in it. And when I have thanked you for them, as the effects of an undissembled love, then let me tell you, sir, that I will really endeavor to live up to the character you have given of me; if there were no other reason, yet for this alone, that you, that love me so well, and always think what you speak, may not, for my sake, suffer by a mistake in your judgment.
And, sir, I have ventured to fill a part of your margin, by way of paraphrase, for the reader's clearer understanding the situation, both of your Fishing-house, and the pleasantness of that you dwell in. And I have ventured also to give him a copy of verses that you were pleased to send me, now some years past; in which he may see a good picture of both; and so much of your own mind, too, as will make any reader that is blest with a generous soul to love you the better. I confess, that for doing this you may justly judge me too bold: if you do, I will say so too; and so far commute for my offence, that, though I be more than a hundred miles from you, and in the eighty-third year of my age, yet I will forget both, and next month begin a pilgrimage to beg your pardon; for I would die in your favor; and till then will live, sir,
Your most affectionate father and friend,
IZAAK WALTONLondon, April 29th, 1676.