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John Bartlett (1820–1905). Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. 1919.

Izaak Walton 1593-1683 John Bartlett

    Of which, if thou be a severe, sour-complexioned man, then I here disallow thee to be a competent judge.
          The Complete Angler. Author’s Preface.
    Angling may be said to be so like the mathematics that it can never be fully learnt.
          The Complete Angler. Author’s Preface.
    As no man is born an artist, so no man is born an angler.
          The Complete Angler. Author’s Preface.
    I shall stay him no longer than to wish him a rainy evening to read this following discourse; and that if he be an honest angler, the east wind may never blow when he goes a fishing.
          The Complete Angler. Author’s Preface.
    As the Italians say, Good company in a journey makes the way to seem the shorter.
          The Complete Angler. Part i. Chap. i.
    I am, sir, a Brother of the Angle.
          The Complete Angler. Part i. Chap. i.
    It [angling] deserves commendations;… it is an art worthy the knowledge and practice of a wise man.
          The Complete Angler. Part i. Chap. i.
    Angling is somewhat like poetry,—men are to be born so.
          The Complete Angler. Part i. Chap. i.
    Doubt not but angling will prove to be so pleasant that it will prove to be, like virtue, a reward to itself. 1
          The Complete Angler. Part i. Chap. i.
    Sir Henry Wotton was a most dear lover and a frequent practiser of the Art of Angling; of which he would say, “’T was an employment for his idle time, which was then not idly spent, a rest to his mind, a cheerer of his spirits, a diverter of sadness, a calmer of unquiet thoughts, a moderator of passions, a procurer of contentedness;” and “that it begat habits of peace and patience in those that professed and practised it.”
          The Complete Angler. Part i. Chap. i.
    You will find angling to be like the virtue of humility, which has a calmness of spirit and a world of other blessings attending upon it.
          The Complete Angler. Part i. Chap. i.
    I remember that a wise friend of mine did usually say, “That which is everybody’s business is nobody’s business.”
          The Complete Angler. Part i. Chap. ii.
    Good company and good discourse are the very sinews of virtue.
          The Complete Angler. Part i. Chap. ii.
    An excellent angler, and now with God.
          The Complete Angler. Part i. Chap. iv.
    Old-fashioned poetry, but choicely good.
          The Complete Angler. Part i. Chap. iv.
    No man can lose what he never had.
          The Complete Angler. Part i. Chap. v.
    We may say of angling as Dr. Boteler 2 said of strawberries: “Doubtless God could have made a better berry, but doubtless God never did;” and so, if I might be judge, God never did make a more calm, quiet, innocent recreation than angling.
          The Complete Angler. Part i. Chap. v.
    Thus use your frog: put your hook—I mean the arming wire—through his mouth and out at his gills, and then with a fine needle and silk sew the upper part of his leg with only one stitch to the arming wire of your hook, or tie the frog’s leg above the upper joint to the armed wire; and in so doing use him as though you loved him.
          The Complete Angler. Part i. Chap. 8.
    This dish of meat is too good for any but anglers, or very honest men.
          The Complete Angler. Part i. Chap. 8.
    Health is the second blessing that we mortals are capable of,—a blessing that money cannot buy.
          The Complete Angler. Part i. Chap. 21.
    And upon all that are lovers of virtue, and dare trust in his Providence, and be quiet and go a-angling.
          The Complete Angler. Part i. Chap. 21.
    But God, who is able to prevail, wrestled with him; marked him for his own. 3
          Life of Donne.
    The great secretary of Nature,—Sir Francis Bacon. 4
          Life of Herbert.
    Oh, the gallant fisher’s life!
  It is the best of any;
’T is full of pleasure, void of strife,
  And ’t is beloved by many.
          The Angler. (John Chalkhill.) 5
Note 1.
Virtue is her own reward.—John Dryden: Tyrannic Love, act iii. sc. 1.

Virtue is to herself the best reward.—Henry More: Cupid’s Conflict.

Virtue is its own reward.—Matthew Prior: Imitations of Horace, book iii. ode 2. John Gay: Epistle to Methuen. Home: Douglas, act iii. sc. 1.

Virtue was sufficient of herself for happiness.—Diogenes Laertius: Plato, xlii.

Ipsa quidem virtus sibimet pulcherrima merces (Virtue herself is her own fairest reward).—Silius Italicus (25?–99): Punica, lib. xiii. line 663. [back]
Note 2.
William Butler, styled by Dr. Fuller in his “Worthies” (Suffolk) the “Æsculapius of our age.” He died in 1621. This first appeared in the second edition of “The Angler,” 1655. Roger Williams, in his “Key into the Language of America,” 1643, p. 98, says: “One of the chiefest doctors of England was wont to say, that God could have made, but God never did make, a better berry.” [back]
Note 3.
Melancholy marked him for her own.—Thomas Gray: The Epitaph. [back]
Note 4.
Plato, Aristotle, and Socrates are secretaries of Nature.—Howell:
Letters, book ii. letter xi. [back]
Note 5.
In 1683, the year in which he died, Walton prefixed a preface to a work edited by him: “Thealma and Clearchus, a Pastoral History, in smooth and easy verse; written long since by John Chalkhill Esq., an acquaintant and friend of Edmund Spenser.”

Chalkhill,—a name unappropriated, a verbal phantom, a shadow of a shade. Chalkhill is no other than our old piscatory friend incognito.—Zouch: Life of Walton. [back]