As inward love breeds outward talk,
The Hound some praise, and some the Hawk
Some, better pleas'd with private sport,
Use Tennis; some a Mistress court:
But these delights I neither wish,
Nor envy, while I freely fish.
Who hunts, doth oft in danger ride;
Who hawks, lures oft both far & wide;
Who uses games, may often prove
A loser; but who falls in love,
Is fettered in fond Cupid's snare:
My Angle breeds me no such care.
Of Recreation there is none
So free as fishing is alone;
All other pastimes do no less
Than mind and body both possess;
My hand alone my work can do.
So I can fish and study too.
I care not, I, to fish in seas.
Fresh rivers best my mind do please.
Whose sweet calm course I contemplate.
And seek in life to imitate;
In civil bounds I fain would keep
And for my past offenses weep.
And when the timorous Trout I wait
To take, and he devours my bait.
How poor a thing, sometimes I find,
Will captivate a greedy mind;
And when none bite, I praise the wise
Whom vain allurements ne'er surprise.
But yet, though while I fish I fast,
I make good fortune my repast;
And thereunto my friend invite,
In whom I more than that delight:
Who is more welcome to my dish.
Then to my Angle was my fish.
As well content no prize to take,
As use of taken prize to make;
For so our Lord was pleased, when
He Fishers made Fishers of men;
Where (which is in no other game)
A man may fish and praise his name.
The first men that our Saviour dear
Did choose to wait upon him here,
Blest Fishers were; and fish the last
Food was, that he on earth did taste:
I therefore strive to follow those
Whom he to follow him hath chose.
- Warwick Bond, R., The Poetical Works of William Basse, London: Bell, 1893, pp.123.