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have been safely conveyed in a piece of Parchment no bigger then yourhand, though several skins are not sufficient to do it in this wiser Age. I say, Sir, if you take us Anglers to besuch simple men as I have spoken of, then both my felf, and those of my profession will be glad to be founderstood. But if by simplicitie you meant to expresse any general defect in the understanding of those that professe and practise Angling, I hope to make it appear to you, that there is so much contrary reason (if you have but the patience to hear it) as may remove all the anticipations that Time or Difcourse may have poffeff’dyou with, against that Ancient and laudable Art.
Viat. Why (Sir) is Angling of Antiquitie, and an Art, and an art not easilylearn'd?
Pisc. Yes(Sir:) and I doubt'not hut that if you and I were to converse together but til night,Ishould leave
you poffeff”d with the same happie thoughts that now possesse me; not onely for the Antiquitie of it, but that it deserves commendations; and that 'tis an Art; and worthy the knowledge and practice of a wise, and a serious
Viat. Sir, I pray speak of them what you
shall think fit; for wee have yet
five miles to walk before wee shallcome to the Thatcht house. And, Sir, though my infirmities are many, yet I dare promise you, that both my patience and attention will indure to hear what
you will say till wee come thither: and if you please to begin in order with the antiquity, when that is done, you shall not want my attention to the commendations and accommodations of it: and lastly, if you shall convince me that 'tis an Art, and an Artworth learning, I shall beg I may become your Scholer, both to wait upon you, and to be instructed in the Art it self.
Pisc. Oh Sir, 'tis not to be questioned, but that it is an art, and an art worth your Learning: the question wil rather be, whether
you be capable of learning it? For he that learns it, must not onely bring an enquiring, searching,anddiscerning wit; but he must bring also thatpatience you talk of, and a loveand propensity to the artitself: but having once got and practised it, then doubt not but the Art will (both for the pleasure and profit of it) prove like to Vertue, a reward to it felf.
Viat. Sir, I am now become so fulof expectation, that I long much to have you proceed in your difcourse: And first, I pray Sir,let me hear concerning the antiquity of it.
Pisc. Sir, I wil preface no longer, but proceed in order as you delireme: And first for the Antiquity of Angling, I shall not say much; bur; onely this ; Some say, it is as ancientas Deucalions Floud: and others
(which I like better) say, that Belus Jer. Mar
(who was the inventer of godly and vertuous Recreations) was the Inventer of it: and some others say, (for former times have had their Disquisitionsaboutit) that Seth,one of the sons of Adam, taught it to his sons, and that by them it was derived to Posterity. Others say, that he left it engraven on those Pillars which hee erected to preserve the knowledgofthe Mathematicks,Mufick, and the rest of those precious Arts, which by Gods appointment orallowance, and his nobleindustry were thereby preserved from perishing in Noak's Floud.
Thefe(my worthy Friend) have been the opinions of some men, that
pofposlibly may have endeavoured to makeitmoreancient then maywell be warranted. But for my part, I shall content my self in telling you, That Angling is much moreancient then theincarnation ofour Saviour:
Chap.4 2. For both in the Prophet Amos,and before him in Job, (which lastBook Chap. 41. is judged to be written by Moses) mentionismadeoffiss-hooks, which must imply Anglers in those times.
But(my worthy friend) as I would rather prove my
prove my self to bea Gentleman, by being learned and humble, valiant and inoffenhve, vertuous and communicable, then by a fondoftentation of riches; or (wanting these Vertues my self) boast that these were in my Ancestors; (And yet I confeffe, thatwhere a nobleandancient Descentand such Meritsmeet inany man, itisadouble dignisication of that person: ) and so, if this Antiquitie of Angling (which, for my part, I have not forc'd) shall,