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The Compleat Angler

The Compleat Angler by Izaak Walton
By: (1593-1683)

The Compleat Angler is a celebration of the art and spirit of fishing in prose and verse. Walton did not profess to be an expert with the fly, but in the use of the live worm, the grasshopper and the frog "Piscator" could speak as a master. There were originally only two interlocutors in the opening scene, "Piscator" and "Viator"; but in the second edition, as if in answer to an objection that "Piscator" had it too much in his own way in praise of angling, he introduced the falconer, "Auceps," changed "Viator" into "Venator" and made the new companions each dilate on the joys of his favourite sport.

First Page:



To the Right worshipful

John Offley

of Madeley Manor, in the County of Stafford

Esquire, My most honoured Friend

Sir, I have made so ill use of your former favours, as by them to be encouraged to entreat, that they may be enlarged to the patronage and protection of this Book: and I have put on a modest confidence, that I shall not be denied, because it is a discourse of Fish and Fishing, which you know so well, and both love and practice so much.

You are assured, though there be ignorant men of another belief, that Angling is an Art: and you know that Art better than others; and that this is truth is demonstrated by the fruits of that pleasant labour which you enjoy, when you purpose to give rest to your mind, and divest yourself of your more serious business, and, which is often, dedicate a day or two to this recreation.

At which time, if common Anglers should attend you, and be eyewitnesses of the success, not of your fortune, but your skill, it would doubtless beget in them an emulation to be like you, and that emulation might beget an industrious diligence to be so; but I know it is not attain bye by common capacities: and there be now many men of great wisdom, learning, and experience, which love and practice this Art, that know I speak the truth... Continue reading book >>

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