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them, took in his fields: for I could sit there quietly, and looking on the water, see some fishes sport themselves in the silver streams, others leaping at flies of several shapes and colours; looking on the hills, I could behold them spotted with woods and groves; looking down the meadows, could see here a boy gathering lilies and lady-smocks, and there a girl cropping culverkeys and cowslips, all to make garlands suitable to this present month of May. These, and many other field flowers, so perfumed the air, that I thought that very meadow like that field in Sicily of which Diodorus speaks, where the perfumes arising from the place make all dogs that hunt in it to fall off, and to lose their hottest scent. I say, as I thus sat, joying in my own happy condition, and pitying this poor rich-man that owned this and many other pleasant groves and meadows about me, I did thankfully remember what my Saviour said, that the meek possess the earth, or rather they enjoy what the others possess and enjoy not ; for anglers, and meek, quiet-spirited men are free from those high, those restless thoughts, which corrode the sweets of life: and they, and they only, can say, as the poet has happily expressed it:— Hail, blest estate of lowliness' Happy enjoyments of such minds As, rich in self-contentedness, Can, like the reeds in roughest winds, By yielding, make that blow but small, At which proud oaks and cedars fall.
“There came, also, into my mind, at that time, certain verses in praise of a mean estate and humble mind: they were written by Phineas Fletcher, an excellent divine, and an excellent angler, and the author of excellent ‘Piscatory Eclogues,’ in which you shall see the picture of this good man's mind; and I wish mine to be like it.
No empty hopes, no courtly fears him fright;
My pardon for this digression (we are upon an excursion) will, I expect, be easily gained; and now then to our fishing. Like everything else, it is dull only when it is dull,—a truism of wider and deeper application than meets the eye. Ours was not dull; for, saith honest Izaak, mingling, according to his wont, a moral with his maxim, “bite the perch will, and that very boldly; and as one has wittily observed, * If there be twenty or forty in a hole, they may be, at one standing, all catched one after another; they being,' as he says, “like the wicked of the world, not afraid, though their fellows and companions perish in their sight:” and perish they did by the fair hands of our lasses. Nothing interests females more than angling, especially the novices; the impatient eagerness they display from the first bob of the float till it disappears, the manful jerk with which they not unfrequently toss their captive high in air over their heads, or if he be too heavy or powerful to be so unceremoniously brought to land, the inveterate opponency they maintain against his struggles, their joy at his final captivation, are huge provocatives to mirth. And such were the details of this part of our excursion.
And now to our repast. In the midst of Somerton Broad is erected a spacious boat-house, adjoining an islet some twenty yards long and about half as wide. Here were landed all our homely viands, our pies of chicken, of beef, and of fruit; nor did our present port seem the less commodious, because it included also two of the best ports of old England,-red port and port-er. In half a minute a door was unshipped from its hinges, and a plank or two from the boats, by the supporting aid of a huge mass of flint (a geological adjunct of the chalky substratum of the country), and one of our boxes, according to Dr. Geddes's maccaroni—
“Cum mappis mundis coveratas ac china plattis,”
afforded us a table which the gods (provided they were as keen as the water had made us) might have envied. Spite of Mrs. Glasse, Dr. Kitchener, the Lady of Edinburgh, and even Ude himself, the Lacedaemonian sauce is the best that can grace an entertainment. Suffice it that we laughed and we quaffed amidst our little world of waters with the gaiety that none feel who cannot deliver themselves over to the abandon of such wild frolicking. “Once more upon the waters,” some moored in the row-boat to angle under the shelter of the reeds, while the others in the cutter scudded to and fro in every direction to take in the liggers and try our fortune. Nothing could be more animating than the way in which our little vessel was handled by our coxswain, a young farmer whose temper, manner, and appearance all declared the purpose of his life to be to laugh and grow fat. We had many a gibe both from him and his sails; the boat bounded and turned like a courser to the rein under his direction, whilst the musical voices of some of our party in song and duet added melody and harmony to our other pleasures. Thus passed the day, but we had still a novelty in store for its close. We left the Broads through a narrow channel scarcely wide enough for the passing of two boats, and yet this was the navigable river. Its course was perfectly invisible beyond the reeds by which its waters were fringed, nor was it possible to conjecture to what part or place it tended. A situation so singular, and scenery so unlike all we are accustomed to, originates thoughts and sensations we can neither recall nor describe further than that they seem to bear us to those remote settlements where the adventurers have left behind them every trace of human existence save their own. To me it was enchanting, for it brought me back to the long-passed hours and
delights of my boyhood. Another of the party thus gave permanency in verse to the feelings it inspired. -
As the swallow is to the wild sea-mew,
No crested wave lifts thy fragile form
“Our revels now are ended;” and if I have conducted the reader to a region unknown to him—if I have succeeded in conveying even a general outline of this singular district, bringing together the very confines of land and water, fertility and barrenness, this abode of mediocrity, comfort, and heartiness—if I have told of gratifications, simple but sweet, though tried but by few—if I shall have encouraged others to seek them at the same source, and taught how they are to be felt and understood, my purpose is fulfilled.
sEEING's Not BELIEVING !
I saw her as I fancied fair,
I saw the tresses on her brow,
I saw, when costly gems I gave,
I saw, beneath a load of gems,
I saw a thousand signs of wealth !—
I saw her father, and I spoke
I saw the daughter, and I named
I saw the bank, the shutters up,
I saw the banker's wife had got The fortune settled on her; What cared he when the creditors Talk'd loudly of dishonour * I saw his name in the “Gazette," But soon I stared, perceiving . He bought another house and grounds !— Oh! seeing's not believing ! I saw—yes, plain as plain could be— I saw the banker's daughter; She saw me too, and call'd for salWolatile and water; She said that she had just espoused A rich old man, conceiving That I was dead or gone to jail!— Oh! seeing's not believing ! I saw a friend, and freely spoke My mind of the transaction; Her brother heard it, and he call’d, Demanding satisfaction; We met—I fell—that brother's ball In my left leg receiving; I have two legs—true—one is cork /— Oh! seeing's not believing ! - T. H. B.