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disposition attracted the notice, and conciliated the affections, of all with whom he had any concern.
It is observable, that not only these, but the rest of Walton's friends, were eminent royalists; and that he himself was in great repute for his attachment to the royal cause, will appear by the relation taken from Ashmole’s “ History of the Order of the Garter,” page 228; where the author, speaking of the ensigns of the order, says:
“ Nor will it be unfitly here remembered, by what good fortune the present sovereign's Lesser George, set with fair diamonds, was preserved, after the defeat given to the Scotch forces at Worcester, ann. 4 Car. II. Among the rest of his attendants then dispersed, Colonel Blague was one; who, taking shelter at Blore-pipe-house in Staffordshire, where one Mr. George Barlow then dwelt, delivered his wife this George to secure. Within a week after, Mr. Barlow himself carried it to Robert Milward, Esq.; he being then a prisoner to the parliament, in the garrison of Stafford ; and by his means was it happily preserved and restored ; for, not long after, he delivered it to Mr. Izaak Walton (a man well known, and as well beloved of all good men; and will be better known to posterity, by his ingenious pen in the Lives of Dr. Donne, Sir Henry Wotton, Mr. Richard Hooker, and Mr. George Herbert), to be given to Colonel Blague, then a prisoner in the Tower; who, considering it had already passed so many dangers, was persuaded it could yet secure one hazardous attempt of his own; and thereupon, leaving the Tower without leave-taking, hasted the presentation of it to the present sovereign's hand.”
The religious opinions of good men are of little importance to others, any farther than they necessarily conduce to virtuous practice ; since we see, that as well the different persuasions of Papist and Protestant, as the several no less differing parties into which the Reformed Religion is unhappily subdivided, have produced men equally remarkable for their endowments, sincere in their professions, and exemplary in their lives.
But were it necessary, after what has been above remarked of him, to be particular on this head, with respect to our author we should say, that he was a very dutiful son of the Church of England ; nay further, that he was a friend to a hierarchy, or, as we should now call such a one, a high churchman; for which propensity of his, if it needs an apology, it may be said, that he had lived to see hypocrisy and fanaticismı triumph in the subversion of both our ecclesiastical and civil constitution, — the important question of toleration had not been discussed, the extent of regal prerogative and the bounds of civil and religious liberty, had never been ascertained, — and he, like many other good men, might look on the interests of the Church, and those of Religion, as inseparable.
Besides the works of Walton abovementioned, there are extant, of his writing, Verses on the death of Dr. Donne, beginning, “Our Donne is dead”; Verses to his reverend friend the author of the “Synagogue,” printed together with Herbert's “Temple”; Verses before Alexander Brome's Poems, octavo, 1646, and before Shirley's Poems, oc
tavo, 1646, and before Cartwright's Plays and Poems, octavo, 1651. He wrote also the following Lines under an engraving of Dr. Donne, before his Poems, published in 1635.
4. This was,
- for youth, strength, mirth, and wit, that
Witness this book (thy emblem), which begins
A few moments before his death, our author made his will, which appears, by the peculiarity of many expressions contained in it, as well as by the hand, to be of his own writing. As there is something characteristic in this last solemn act of his life, it has been thought proper to insert an authentic copy thereof in this account of him; postponing it, only to the following reflections on his life and character.
Upon a retrospect of the foregoing particulars, and a view of some others mentioned in a subsequent letter and in his Will, it will appear that Walton possessed that essential ingredient in human felicity, “mens sana in corpore sano ” ; for in his eighty-third year he professes a resolution to begin a pilgrimage of more than a hundred miles into a country the most difficult and hazardous that can be conceived for an aged man to travel in, visit his
friend Cotton,* and doubtless to enjoy his favorite diversion of angling in the delightful streams of the Dove; and on the ninetieth anniversary of his birthday, he, by his Will, declares himself to be of per
To this journey he seems to have been invited by Mr. Cotton, in the following beautiful Stanzas, printed with other of his Poems in 1689, 8vo. and addressed to his dear and most worthy friend, Mr. Isaac Walton :
“ Whilst in this cold and blustering clime,
Where bleak winds howl and tempests roar,
Has been of many years before ;
Whilst from the most tempestuous nooks
The chillest blasts our peace invade,
Are almost navigable made;
Whilst all the ills are so improved,
Of this dead quarter of the year,
We would not now wish with us here:
In this estate, I say,
You, our dear friend, have more repose ;
And some delight to me the while,
Though nature now does weep in rain,
And haply may I do again.
As to his worldly circumstances, — notwithstanding the adverse accident of his being obliged, by the troubles of the times, to quit London and his oecupation, – they appear to have been commensurate, as well to the wishes as the wants of any but a covetous and intemperate man; and in his relations
If the all-ruling Power please
We live to see another May,
Foul days in one fine fishing day.
We then shall have a day or two,
Perhaps a week, wherein to try
With the most deadly killing fly:
A day with not too bright a beam,
A warm, but not a scorching sun,
And, master, half our work is done.
There, whilst behind some bush we wait
The scaly people to betray, -
To make the preying Trout our prey.
And think ourselves, in such an hour,
Happier than those, though not so high,
Of meaner men the smaller fry.
This, my best friend, at my poor home
Shall be our pastime and our theme;
You make all this a flattering dream.