The Compleat Angler: To All Readers Of This Discourse Quotes

Izaak Walton

"I Have Laid Aside Business, And Gone A-fishing"

Context: Izaak Walton, who subtitled his famous work on angling The Contemplative Man's Recreation, begins his preface by saying that he wrote his book to please others, who, he hopes, will take both pleasure and profit from it. He also says that if he cannot be commended for his efforts he at least trusts that he will not be blamed. He admits that in writing he has made a recreation of a recreation, and to make his book agreeable to his readers he has seasoned his instruction with some innocent, harmless mirth, being careful to avoid scurrility. He is the more willing to justify the pleasanter part of his book because, although he can be serious when the occasion demands, the whole book is a picture of his own dispostion. He puts it thus:

. . . yet the whole discourse is, or rather was, a picture of my own disposition; especially in such days and times as I have laid aside business, and gone a-fishing with honest Nat. and R. Roe: but they are gone, and with them most of my pleasant hours, even as a shadow that passeth away and returns not.