Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Piscator to Venator, in The Compleat Angler

O sir, doubt not that angling is an art. Is it not an art to deceive a trout with an artificial fly? a trout! that is more sharp-sighted than any hawk you have named, and more watchful and timorous than your high-mettled merlin is bold; and yet I doubt not to catch a brace or two to-morrow for a friend's breakfast: doubt not, therefore, sir, but that angling is an art, and an art worth your learning. The question is rather, whether you be capable of learning it? for angling is somewhat like poetry, men are to be born so: I mean, with inclinations to it, though both may be heightened by discourse and practice: but he that hopes to be a good angler, must not only bring an inquiring, searching, observing wit, but he must bring a large measure of hope and patience, and a love and propensity to the art itself; but having once got and practised it, then doubt not but angling will prove to be so pleasant, that it will prove to be like virtue, a reward to itself.


Andrew Wilkie said...

A fine bit of poetry...the kind a man wants to read around this time of year

Keith said...

I think there's a typo in that quote. They spelled merkin, "merlin".