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- 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 fetter'd 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,
- Bless'd 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.
- Izaak Walton
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