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green,) sent forth their sweet and redolent perfumes to refresh the universe. Chanticleer then gave the day a summons, and the early lark, earlier than the sun, salutes the air, whilst blushing Phebus paints and gilds the azure globe, whose celestial influence, (by refulgent magnetism,) blest all the world with prolifick blessings; so that the whole creation began to vegetate, and every vegetation sent forth sweet aromas; the birds began now to build their nests, and every bird to choose his mate; whilst the groves and delightful springs, as also the forests and unfrequented desarts, celebrated the fragrant spring; when the frigid congelations of frost and snow were all struck dead by the blazing fiery strokes of the sun.
"Arnoldus. What infer you from these pretty metaphors?
Theoph. I infer thus much :-The vernon ingress smiled a blessing, when she sent the melodious harmony of birds to melt the air. The nightingale with her warbling notes, the blackbird, thrush, linnet, and golden-jay, besides the canary and delicious bulfinch, filled all the woods with their solitary strains; and because beating the air with such proportionable harmony, every bush became an aviary, and every grove a mellifluous concert, whilst the purling springs, and more shady rivulets, softened by the gentle breathings of Zephyrus, seemed tacitly to express a secret, whispering, silent praise.
"Arn. To whom?
Theoph. To whom think you? Unto Jehovah the great Creator. "Arn. Very well exprest! Proceed.
Theoph. Things thus posited, under such a rectoral governance, my reason and all my faculties were excited to contemplate the excellent beauty of this stupendous creation; but above all, when to consider man lord of this creational work, and invested with power to conduct the creatures, and intrusted with the cargo of the whole creation; this, I confess, was very surprising, when but to consider him in a natural state, and compare him with the excellency of celestial beings.
"Arn. What observe you from thence?
Theoph. I observe him complicated, and compounded of elements; and elements of themselves they drop in sunder.
"Arn. But what if you take him translated into a state of grace and regeneration?
Theoph. Why, then, I'll grant the first death is past, and the second death shall have no power to hurt him.
"Arn. So far you'll grant him to excel all created beings."
The theological argument is waged for several pages, in the course of which the loss of Paradise is very fantastically alluded to; and there seems to be no prospect of the author getting to any other subject, when Theophilus puts, as we think, and as our readers shall see anon, a very pertinent question.
"Arn. God forbid that the sting of sin should be so venomous a poison, that no antidote can cure it! Did not the Lord of Life die
to conquer sin, and death, and hell, in every believer? Let us be so charitable as to parallel Saul with Sampson, who had his Dalilah, as Saul had his Endor. Here we read, that David found repentance after the prophet's reproof; and Sampson had his satisfaction upon the lords of the Philistines. These two had their pardon sealed before death; and fain would I be so charitable to conclude so of Saul. "Theoph. Ay, but Saul's fault is writ in capital characters.
"Arn. That's instituted for our admonition, and the reformation of succeeding generations.
Theoph. O, Arnoldus ! the generations to come will abominate this, that inflames itself to set the rest of the world on fire.
"Arn. Then let them burn and consume one another; for lust and pollution augment the flames.
"Theoph. Do not all the nations and kingdoms about us exhaust their treasures to indulge themselves, and devote their services to the hypocrisy of the times?
“Arn. It's rare (to a miracle) to find faith amongst men, especially such as daily expose conscience to the wreck of opinion. And he that makes a god of his belly devotes all his services to his luxurious appetite. Thus, men, as by machination, traduce one another into the devil's school, to brazen themselves against the modesty of a blush, lest sin should be thought to be shame-faced. And others, raking up the embers of revenge, fire themselves by quenching the flames.
Theoph. So let them. But what's all this to our angling de
"Arn. Stay a little till we come to the water-side: in the meantime I have a question to put, and that's this; How comes it to pass that the hinge and poize of politic states move and turn about with such rapid motions, that kingdoms and potentates are dashed in pieces?"
The question which Arnoldus takes the opportunity of putting before he gets "to the waterside," would have ruined the angling of poor Theophilus for ever, if he had stayed to answer it.
At page thirty-four, Agrippa, a friend of the two colloquists, arrives from the flourishing fields in Albion." (There was no such a thing then as agricultural distress.) Arnoldus after the usual courtesies proposes that the new comer shall meet them in a silent grove, and in the meantime that he and Theophilus shall discourse.
"Arn. Come then, let us chat awhile, and discourse Rome divided among the Romanists. Nay, what will you say to see the church look asquint at the Pope, and Portugal to lift up his heel to kick against his elder brother of Spain? It's madness rather than manners to hear them wrangle and jangle about religion, when there's nothing left on't but bare opinion; which if you won't conform to, they'll stamp the character of a stelletto upon you, or the bloody impressions of an Inquisition."
At length we have the prospect of a change, and the keeneyed reader may begin to see the fish rise.
"Theoph. Come, Arnoldus, let us enter this solitary grove; here we may dwell among rocks, consort with the creation, and keep time with the pulse of the fluctuating ocean. Here we may refresh our ears with the relishing notes of tunable birds, and astonish our eyes with the beautiful model of heaven; where, whilst we gaze on those glittering orbs, our hearts, as inspired, may breathe forth flames.
"Arn. A solitary life I always approved of, to trace the polite sands, to sit down under the shades of woods and rocks, and accost the rivers and rivulets for diversion, (as now we do) and trample on the beautiful banks and florid meadows, beautified with greens, that will not only refresh our senses with their redolent perfumes, but enamour us beyond express, when to see their banks bathed by such silver streams. Come and let's pitch our tents in these delightful plains, where every shady grove, as an umbrella, will shelter us from the scorching fiery beams of the sun, till the earth sends forth her sweet aromas; over which the burnished and beautiful firmament of heaven surrounds all the earth (and the blessed creation) with melody like birds, and murmuring streams; I fancy it a kind of counter-paradise for mortal content.. And how sweet and sublime is that contemplation that surmounts angels for divine associates! Observe, Theophilus, that little rowling rivulet, where every eye may evidence fish in those purling streams courting the sun, as if naturally enamoured with stars and celestials. Such observations flow from our present state, let us therefore consider both the author and the end."
Anon, Agrippa joins the party, and in answer to the interrogations of his philosophical friends, gives a very long and a very melancholy account of the troubled state of "the flourishing fields of Albion." One might almost suppose, that a more recent tongue than Agrippa's had uttered the following observations:
"Arn. What, is there no trimming nor neutrality left amongst
Agrip. Yes, there's enough of that, and solicitations for peace among sober men and mechanicks.
"Arn. But what say the people as to church government? Is one religion or more in fashion?
Agrip. Religion is made a mere stalking horse, to answer the ends of every design, and worn so threadbare, that there's nothing left to cover it, save only the name on't. It's true, there's some small alteration in the church, so is there in the state, by a late purgation; the army also is decimated, and it's thought the mystery of law will be made legible, to speak our modern dialect but the priest paramount is the bravest fellow, because Presbyter John struts a horse-back, whilst the proselyte like a pensioner holds the bridle; but to speak plain English, most hold the stirrup.
"Arn. What say Mercurius, and Publicus Anglicus?
Agrip. You have them both, and the National Diary to boot, where you may read the various products of men, frequent tumults in every corner, general discontents in families; heatings, but no healings, in their grand consults.
"Theoph. What do they vary for?
Agrip. Something superlative; but the generality cry tempora
Theoph. By this I perceive some dig deep to hide their coun
"Arn. Deep or shallow, it's a tiffany plot; any man with half an eye may easily see through it: who is it cries up peace, only those men whom the times court, and the Constitution flatters? such men as these may cry up for peace, while others solicit an every day's novel: No, Theophilus, there's nothing pleasant, every thing seems in a hurly burly; and France and Spain at sword's point."
Theophilus and Arnoldus are so touched with the times, that they determine to fly to "the flourishing fields and plentiful streams of Scotland.' But let us have the over-ripe descriptions of mad-cap Richard himself.
"Arn. Let us first dispatch Agrippa, whose countermarch will much advance our progress.
Theoph. That's well consider'd; pray, let it be so, that without interruption we may ramble all Scotland.
"Arn. And the studious art of angling-must not we make that our employment?
Theoph. Yes, sure; but how must we accommodate ourselves with rods, and other convenient manuals and instruments, whereby to pursue this mysterious art?
"Arn. Trouble not yourself with that little affair. Here, Agrippa, you these letters, and sweeten your rhetoric with returns of Arnoldus, so oft as inquired for by my dear Constantia.
"Agrip. Can the tides forget their natural course? I'll court sun and moon to sprinkle the tracts with propitious beams, to return me prosperous.
"Arn. But when you approach those harmonious ports where Constantia dwells, be well advised what you say or express: let not one word slip that may cause a tear; for if one star falls, all the heavens lower.
Theoph. And remember me (honest Agrippa) to the vertuosos in Nottingham; together with the generous society of anglers, that traverse the fragrant banks of those silver, silent, and murmuring streams of the famous Trent.
"Arn. Near whose cultivated shores, and florid meadows, shines the life of my life, in the constant breast of my dear Constantia. "Agrip. I'll observe your punctims, and pay your respects. "Arn. Do so.
"Theoph. Agrippa, farewell! and forget not Theophilus, who petitions their welfare, and thy prosperous journey.
Agrip. Heavens influence your designs.
"Arn. Now, he is gone, (nor will he be long in going ;) in the meantime, let us contemplate the beauteous creation, and retire to those solitary rocks, to defend us from the radiant and refulgent beams of the sun, that direct their strokes upon us; such retirements will moderate extremes; afterwards, we may stretch our limbs to encounter our recreation, and sport ourselves with the princely trout, in the flourishing rivers and rivulets in Scotland, which probably may contribute as much satisfaction as any other rivers in the promontories of Great Britain, if dexterously examined, and industriously managed with patience and other requisites, suitable and agreeable to the methods of art.
"We may also in our progress, as we travel the country, take a survey of their towns, forts, and fortresses. The like we may do of their cities, castles, and citadels; with their rivers, rivulets, and solitary loughs, which will furnish us with fish enough, provided we can furnish ourselves with baits. But to furnish every angler with a new bait, was the studious invention of Isaac Walton, author (as you may read) of the Complete Angler, who industriously has taken care to provide a good cook, (supposing his wife had a finger in the pie,) which will necessarily be wanting in our northern expedition, where the fry are numerous, (nay numberless almost,) in some of those rapid and trembling streams; from whence the artificial fly (if that exercise be well understood) will contribute as much as any thing to court them ashore, and sweeten our recreation. But I speak more peculiarly to ingenious artists, not to those phlegmatic fellows indigent of art; such only I allot an accidental fate.
Theoph. Methinks I grow impatient to attempt these silver streams with our harmless artillery. Here needs no auxiliary force to guard our approaches, when only to trample these delicious, pleasant, and fragrant banks, enamelled with flowers, and green coverings, where every chrystal purling stream is overshadowed with a stately fir tree, or some spreading sycamore, through which Zephyrus inspires a softened breath of air, to curl the surface of the milder streams; and where the glittering shores shine like Peru, or the golden sands of the admired Tagus, as if purposely erected for a tomb or sepulchre, therein to inter the generous trout, which is the angler's trophies, and the ultimate period of art.-Reach me that rod, Arnoldus, and furnish me with tackle to try my fortune. Are these flies proper, and suitablę to the season? Is the line tapered, and the rod rush-grown? Every thing answers to promise success, and now have amongst them; for I resolve, beyond dispute, to approve myself an angler, or shame the
"Arn. An angler! an alligator rather; to rush so rudely upon a river, and forget your rudiments.
Theoph. My passionate zeal, hurried on by avarice, confirmed the difficulty of catching fish, no more than a cast of my fly to summon them ashore.