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the Moone; or A Discourse of a Voyage Thither, by Domingo Gonsales, the Speedy Messenger." This work, which reveals an imaginative interpretation of the Copernican system, was translated into French by the indefatigable Baudoin in 1648, and imitated by Cyrano de Bergerac in his famous Voyage de la Lune.1 Hints were obviously derived from it by Dr. Wilkins, one of the institutors of the Royal Society, for his Discovery of a New World in the Moon, while directly and indirectly it evidently influenced both Gulliver's Travels and Paltock's Adventures of Peter Wilkins.
1 Among other English authors who enjoyed the unusual honour of translation before 1650 were More, Foxe, Buchanan, James I., Bishop Hall (Characterisms, 1610), Bacon (Essays, 1612), Greene (Pandosto, 1619), Sidney (Arcadia, 1620), and Lord Herbert.
IZAAK WALTON: OCCASIONAL AND MINOR PROSE OF THE AGE OF MILTON
"Simon Peter said, 'I go a-fishing'; and they said, 'We also will go with thee.'"-JOHN xxi. 3.
dale-Sir Thomas Herbert.
THE life of Izaak Walton from 1593 to 1683 almost bridges over a span of the Stuart dynasty. It affords a kind of talisman against the fanaticism which intervened between the Renaissance and the Restoration in England. Isaac, or, as he liked to write it-Izaak-Walton was born at Stafford on August 9th, 1593. Of his education and early years we know practically nothing, but according to Wood, he obtained a competency as a linen-draper in London. This seems hardly consistent with the fact that in his marriage of 1626 he was styled an ironmonger, while records show that he was made free of the Ironmongers' Company in November, 1618. In 1643 Walton was able to retire from trade on a modest competency, and in 1644 a vestryman was chosen for St. Dunstan's in room of "Isaac Walton, lately departed out of this parish." Wood says that Walton retired to Stafford, but if so he was back in London in time for Laud's execution early in 1645, and in 1650 he was at Clerkenwell preparing for press the Relique Wottoniana, to which he prefixed the brief yet charming life of Sir Henry Wotton which came out in 1651. In 1647 (after being seven years a widower) he had married again, Anne, daughter of Thomas, and half-sister of Bishop Ken.
Walton was sixty when in 1653 he published his immortal treatise, The Compleat Angler, or the Contemplative Man's Recreation, being "a discourse of fish and fishing not unworthy the perusal of most anglers." The first edition (price eighteenpence) differs materially from the second, which appeared under Walton's superintendence in 1655. The last edition is cast in the form of a dialogue between two persons-Piscator and Viator; while, in the second, three characters-Piscator, Venator, and Auceps (falconer)-sustain the discourse. Totnam Hill, however, is still the scene, and a May-day morning the time of the meeting. The idyllic mood in which Walton's favourite pastime is treated had been to a certain extent anticipated in Nicholas Breton's Wits Trenchmour in a Conference had Betwixt a Scholler and an Angler, published in 1597, and in John Dennys's unaffected and quaintly humorous poem on The Secrets of Angling, published three years after the author's death, in 1613. Yet in the perfection of finished art, discovered in a perfect simplicity, The Compleat Angler remains unique in our literature.
In 1665 Walton gave to the world his Life of Richard Hooker, which he dedicated to George Morley, Bishop of Winchester, at whose palace at Farnham he found an asylum for his old age after the death of his wife in 1662, Five years later appeared his Life of George Herbert, and in the same year, 1670, the four Lives of Donne (the favourite of Dr. Johnson), Wotton, Hooker, and Herbert were collected in a single volume dedicated to Morley.
1 The last edition published in Walton's time was the famous fifth edition of 1678, in which Charles Cotton's "Instructions how to Angle for a Trout or Grayling in a Clear Stream" appear for the first time. The standard editions of The Compleat Angler are those of Sir Harris Nicholas (1836) and R. B. Marston (1888); to which may be added for reference the introductions by Lang, Lowell, and John Buchan (Little Library).
To this unrivalled collection of devotional biographies, unapproached alike in grateful simplicity and in humble admiration and piety, the Life of Robert Sanderson was added in 1678. Walton must have been well over eighty when he wrote it-truly the ripe fruit of a noble stem. Walton died at his married daughter's house in Winchester on December 15th, 1683, and was buried in the south transept of Winchester Cathedral.
Walton's career, says Mr. Andrew Lang, is seen to be that of "a man born in a humble position, but attracting by his charm of character and happy religion the friendship of learned divines and prelates. More than most authors, he lives in his writings, which are the pure expression of a kind, humorous, and pious soul in love with nature; while the expression itself is unique for apparent simplicity which is really elaborately studied art." His descriptions of flowers, fields, and streams are the prose of the poetry in Shakespeare's incidental rustic songs, or Marlowe's Come Live with Me. His love of music is continually evident in the pages of his Angler. His unaffected love of God and man won for him, after his death, the admiration of Dr. Johnson, who must also have been drawn to him as a Royalist and Churchman, of Wordsworth, of Lamb, and of Landor. The pastoral revives in his idyllic pages, and he has given the gentle sport a halo of fine literature which it has never quite lost. Culture and sport, poetry and prose, nature and art are reconciled most rarely in the choice simplicity and haunting cadences of the fondly remembered "Iz: Wa."
James Howell, the son of a Carmarthenshire rector, was born at Abernant about 1595, and was educated at Hereford Free School, and Jesus College, Oxford. After taking his degree he became the foreign agent of a glassware manufactory in Broad Street, London, and was sent to Venice to pick up competent workmen and the latest
designs. After six years of this work he became an accomplished linguist, and was employed on one or two semidiplomatic missions (Madrid-Copenhagen). In 1640 he published a political allegory in prose called Dodona's Grove, or The Vocal Forest. His services and talents already gave him a strong claim upon the Royalist party, when in 1643 his papers were seized by order of the Long Parliament, and he was committed (for eight long years) to the Fleet Prison. There he wrote a large number of political pamphlets, an ill-natured description of the people and country of Scotland, and a survey of the Seignorie of Venice, published in the year of his release from the Fleet, 1651. Six years later he gave to the world Londonopolis, a gossipy perlustration of the city, largely borrowed from Stow, with interesting plates by Hollar. In 1661 he was appointed Historiographer Royal of England, with a salary of £100 a year. He died unmarried in Holborn, and was buried on November 3rd, 1666, in the Temple Church, where in the triforium gallery his costly monument may still be seen. It is an exaggeration to say that Howell was one of the first Englishmen to make a livelihood by his pen, yet few professional writers have worked harder than he did during his sojourn of eight years in the Fleet Prison. He owes his place in English literature exclusively to the Epistola Ho-Eliana: familiar letters, domestic and foreign, divided into sundry sections, autobiographical, historical, political, and philosophical.1
1 1645-1655: there is nothing very extraordinary about the letters. Sir Henry Wotton, Sir Tobie Mathew, and other gossips of James I.'s court had developed the Familiar Letter in imitation of Cicero, Pliny, and Seneca; but the Epist. Ho-Eliana are more of an olla podrida, and come nearer to the divine chit-chat of Walpole and Cowper. His light touch in stringing together oddities and the fealty and flattery of Southey, Lamb, Disraeli, and, above all, Thackeray, ensure a long life to Howell.