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how Bardolph was to quoit (a reference to another game, used with the poet's usual love of metaphor) Pistol downstairs, as the smooth shilling—the shove-groat-fies along the board. Rare Ben Jonson makes a similar allusion.
And again, still digging in this exhaustless mine, whence every description of jewel may be extracted for purposes of literary adornment-consulting this encyclopædia of illustration—we find much reference to the ever-popular sport of angling. There is the wellknown passage in “ Antony and Cleopatra,” plus the jest of the stale fish ; there is another in “Much Ado about Nothing ;” and the curious student will find them elsewhere in the revered volumes of which we are so fondly proud. Evidently Shakespeare was familiar with the game of football, in the elementary though popular form of the æra he adorned. Dromio of Ephesus (“Comedy of Errors "), doubly playing upon the word “round,” says : “Am I so round with you, as you with me, that like a football you do spurn me thus?” find in the Master's greatest tragedy Kent is made to say : “Nor tripped neiiher, you base football player.”
Leaving the Swan of Avon and the noble writers of the Elizabethan age, as we pass onwards we find more and more reference to sports and pastimes in all the writings preserved through the medium of type. Byron, Scott, Thackeray, Dickens, Trollope, Whyte Melville, and a host of others constantly allude to such subjects. Sometimes the writer, as in the case of Byron, betrays both ignorance of and contempt for sport ; sometimes, like Dickens, talented and classical authors display a cockneyfied lack of knowledge : Trollope writes of hunting calmly yet intelligently; whilst Whyte Melville (soldier, poet, novelist, sportsman) gave the world a collection of impassioned novels, inainly treating of the chase, which are alike imbued with the true spirit of sport and the divine flame of the artist. “Nimrod” (Mr. Apperley); Mr. St. John ; the authors of “Silk and Scarlet,” “ Post and Paddock," “ Loch and Moor ;' the late Mr. Walsh, of the Field (“Stonehenge”); Mr. Senior (the great “Redspinner"), “Plantagenet,” “ Cordley,” and many others, have produced works elegantly written, crammed with poetical quotation and classical allusions. The sporting novel, and the novel which, in striving to depict the various phases of modern English life, has to touch upon the subject of sport, are so well known as to be familiar to all readers of current and, possibly, ephemeral literature.
There are sporting writers and sporting writers. The vulgar tautological argot of the average reporter on racing or boxing, sculling, running, or knurr and spell, is as widely apart from the fascinating and pure style of a Whyte Melville or a “Brooksby" as is the schoolboy's essay on “Kats" from the scholarly and model essays of Addison.
Somerville's “ Love Chase," a work little read nowadays, is a piece of true poetry of a high order of excellence, though mere sport is its subject. The said “Love Chase” must not be confounded with the comedy of that name by the brilliant Sheridan Knowles. By way of illustration I append a few lines from the poem in question:
All earth's astir, rous'd with the revelry
And all about what, think you ? Merely foxhunting.
It would, indeed, be difficult to say into what works of English classical literature the student might dip without the certainty of encountering allusions to sports and pastimes (save only, of course, the writing of those holy men who have given to us solemn matter which should not be mentioned in conjunction with such a light subject as this paper treats of).
In Hogg's “Madoc of the Moor” (Canto I., The Hunting) will be found a spirited description of the chase in Scotland in the fourteenth century, reminding the reader so strongly of portions of Scott's “ Lady of the Lake” that one is impelled to accuse Sir Walter of plagiarism. Note four lines previously quoted.
Even the sage (and somewhat dull) Cowper cannot avoid a brief reference to the great topic. Says he :
Nor yet the hawthorn bore his berries red,
As being germane to my text, I should like to quote a few lines from the cynical, godless, unhappy genius known to mankind as Lord Byron, the poet :
Then there was billiards ; cards, too, but no dice; .
Save in the clubs, no man of honour plays ;
And the hard frost destroy'd the scenting days;
Whatever Izaac Walton sings or says :
Should have a hook, and a small trout to pull it. But audi alteram partem. Dear old Father Walton must not be attacked by a lordly sceptic undefended and without being allowed the privilege of response.
It is customary nowadays to regard “Old Izaak” as the author of a delightful and immortal book, redolent of wild flowers, gently flowing streams, sweet country air and pastoral delights—as one who “ babbles of green fields” in a style the most charming and sympathetic ; but at the same time certain modern angling experts affect to attach little or no importance to the “Compleat Angler” as a practical guide to the piscatorial art. The “National Encyclopædia” says : “ The popularity of the Compleat Angler' has been preserved undiminished up to the present time, when it is read and loved, not certainly on account of its precepts and practical directions, which are now obsolete, but for its charming style and devout piety.” In a work well known to anglers,
Ephemera " takes the same text, preaching that Walton is quaint and fascinating, but his directions, save in a few instances, are antiquated and erroneous. Not so. Walton was no fly-fisher ; his pupil and colleague, Charles Cotton, ably deals with that branch of the art ; but the “Master,” and father of fishermen, despite antiquated and cumbersome tackle, was as skilful in deluding and capturing coarse fish, in bottom-fishing, and as well qualified to discourse upon the methods of the same, as any brother of the angle now living.
The passage referred to by Lord Byron, in which Walton describes the method of utilising a frog as a live bait, securing him to the hook tenderly, “as though you loved him," need not be quoted here ; but the following may well be transcribed as illustrating the style of an English classical writer : "But for the practical part, it is that that makes an angler ; it is diligence and observation, and practice, and an ambition to be the best in the art, that must do it. I will tell you, scholar, I envy not him that eats better meat than I do, nor him that is richer, or that wears better clothes than I do; I envy nobody but him, and him only, that catches more fish than I do. And such a man is like to prove an angler.”
Walton ever suggests Cotton. The well-borr. jurior was the adopted son of the old, respectable London tradesman; a great love united the two during life ; and Cotton's work on fly-fishing is always bound together with Walton's "Compleat Angler.” Throughout Cotton's treatise the gentlemanlike disposition of the author breathes. Note the following as indicative of that kindly, charitable, considerate spirit which animated the disciple of the Father of Anglers, and which is not often found absent in fishermen of the present day : “I am not so totally devoted to my own pleasure, but that I have also some regard for other men's." He was accomplished, handsome, and a prince and prophet among anglers ; especially towards the fascinating art of fly-fishing did he incline, preferring it before that which is termed "bottom fishing." As Shakespeare says:
The pleasantest angling is to see the fish
And greedily devour the treacherous bait. Poor gifted Pope, the Twickenham hunchback, alludes to our subject :
Proud Nimrod first the bloody chase began,
A mighty hunter, and his prey was man. Pope says “prey,” but “ quarry” would have been a more suitable word ; however, one cannot expect Pope to be au fait with venatic technicalities.
Goldsmith, too, Dr. Johnson's “Goldie," who "wrote like an angel, though he talked like poor polly”—even Goldsmith, both in the undying poem yclept “The Deserted Village " and in one of the finest comedies ever penned, "She Stoops to Conquer,” frequently touches very happily upon the subject of this paper, but space forbids quotation.
Referring more particularly to that spurious form of sport whose proper designation is gambling, Herbert says, very wisely
Play not for gain, but sport ; who plays for more
Perhaps his wise's too, and whom she has borne. Coming tardily, I fear, towards the termination of my article, I venture to "double back," as sporting writers would say, and call the attention of my readers to a few passages in the works of two of the greatest and earliest of English classical writers, by way of finally showing the intimate connection existing between sport and literature. Edmund Spenser, the author of the pure and lofty “Faerie Queene," elsewhere pens the following:
In wrestling nimble, and in running swist;
In shooting steady, and in swimming strong,
And all the sports that shepherds are among. As for the characters in the Canterbury Tales, though, doubtless, that worthy man, the knight, and his son, the lusty young squire, were sportsmen, we are not directly so told ; probably Chaucer intended it to be understood. All men of rank were sportsmen in those days. Be that as it may, as regards the knight and the squire, we are directly told that the franklin was a sport-loving man ; he was evidently a successful deluder of fish, as also a snarer of game; for it is written:
Withouten bake mete never was his hous,
Keeping partridges mewed up until they should be required is not in accordance with modern notions regarding sport in England, though at this day quails are so treated ; at certain seasons you will find them in little coops in every game-dealer's shop. As for “breme and luce” (that is, bream and pike) in the stew-pond, that is a matter of taste ; and, of course, de gustibus non disputandum. Now, no country gentleman would eat a bream, though the mighty luce or pike is very toothsome, if properly stuffed, baked, and cooked.
Lastly, the restless spirit of adventure and the fascination of big game-shooting, whilst they have attracted sportsmen to South Africa, have conduced to the production of much literary matter, alike elegant and stirring. Eloquent pens have dealt with sport in the Dark Continent in its widest, wildest, and truest sense.
As an example of the spirited treatment of the topic now under consideration, dealt with in a truly poetical and descriptive style, furnishing also a complete and accurate list of the "beasts of chase" to be encountered in the untrodden wilds of the glorious country in question, I would direct the reader's attention to Pringle's beautiful poem, entitled “Afar in the Desert,” in which he will see, glowingly painted, the joys of a wild free life of genuine sport, and many curious and truthful statements referring to the kudu, hartebeest, and eland, the quagga, the “river-horse,” and many other of the fera naturæ given to man by a beneficent Providence, all of which animals he is doing his best to exterminate from the face of the earth.