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or towards the side of the hook, or put the minnow, or sticklebag, a little more crooked or more straight on your hook, until it will turn both true and fast; and then doubt not but to tempt any great trout that lies in a swift stream. And the loach that I told you of will do the like: no bait is more tempting, provided the loach be not too big. And now, scholar, with the help of this fine morning, and your patient attention, I have said all that my present memory will afford me concerning most of the several fish that are usually fished for in fresh waters.
VEN. But, master, you have, by your former civility, made me hope that you will make good your promise, and say something of the several rivers that be of most note in this nation; and also of fish-ponds, and the ordering of them; and do it, I pray, good master, for I love any discourse of rivers, and fish and fishing; the time spent in such discourse passes away very pleasantly.
Of several Rivers, and some observations of Fish.
ISC. Well, scholar, since the ways and weather do both favour us, and that we yet see not Tottenham Cross, you shall see my willingness to satisfy your desire. And first, for the rivers of this nation, there be (as you may note out of Doctor Heylin's Geography, and others) in number 325, but those of chiefest note he reckons
and describes as followeth :
1. The chief is Thamesis, compounded of two rivers, Thame and Isis, whereof the former, rising somewhat beyond Thame in Buckinghamshire, and the latter in Cirencester in Gloucestershire, meet together about Dorchester in Oxfordshire; the issue of which happy conjunction is the Thamesis, or Thames; hence it flieth betwixt Berks, Buckinghamshire, Middlesex, Surrey, Kent, and Essex; and so weddeth himself to the Kentish Medway, in the very jaws of the ocean. This glorious river feeleth the violence and benefit of the sea more than any river in Europe, ebbing and flowing
twice a day, more than sixty miles: about whose banks are so many fair towns and princely palaces that a German poet thus truly spake :
TOT CAMPOS, etc.
We saw so many woods and princely bowers,
2. The second river of note is Sabrina, or Severn: it hath its beginning in Plynlimmon Hill in Montgomeryshire, and his end seven miles from Bristol, washing, in the mean space, the walls of Shrewsbury, Worcester, and Gloucester, and divers other places and palaces of note.
3. Trent, so called from thirty kind of fishes that are found in it, or for that it receiveth thirty lesser rivers; who, having his fountain in Staffordshire, and gliding through the counties of Nottingham, Lincoln, Leicester, and York, augmenteth the turbulent current of Humber, the most violent stream of all the isle. This Humber is not, to say truth, a distinct river, having a spring-head of his own, but it is rather the mouth or æstuarium of divers rivers here confluent, and meeting together, namely, your Derwent, and especially of Ouse and Trent; and (as the Danow, having received into its channel the river Dravus, Savus, Tibiscus, and divers others) changeth his name into this of Humberabus, as the old geographers call it.
4. Medway, a Kentish river, famous for harbouring the royal
5. Tweed, the north-east bound of England; on whose northern banks is seated the strong and impregnable town of Berwick.
6. Tyne, famous for Newcastle, and her inexhaustible coal-pits. These, and the rest of principal note, are thus comprehended in one of Mr. Drayton's sonnets.
The floods' queen, Thames, for ships and swans is crown'd;
The crystal Trent, for fords and fish renown'd;
York many wonders of her Ouse can tell;
Our northern borders boast of Tweed's fair flood;
And the old Lea brags of the Danish blood.
These observations are out of learned Dr. Heylin, and my old deceased friend, Michael Drayton; and because you say you love such discourses as these, of rivers and fish and fishing, I love you the better, and love the more to impart them to you: nevertheless, scholar, if I should begin but to name the several sorts of strange fish that are usually taken in many of those rivers that run into the sea, I might beget wonder in you, or unbelief, or both; and yet I will venture to tell you a real truth concerning one lately dissected by Dr. Wharton, a man of great learning and experience, and of equal freedom to communicate it; one that loves me and my art; one to whom I have been beholden for many of the choicest observations that I have imparted to you. This good man, that dares to do anything rather than tell an untruth, did (I say) tell me he had lately dissected one strange fish, and he thus described it to me :
"The fish was almost a yard broad, and twice that length; his mouth wide enough to receive, or take into it, the head of a man; his stomach seven or eight inches broad: he is of a slow motion, and usually lies or lurks close in the mud, and has a movable string on his head, about a span or near unto a quarter of a yard long, by the moving of which (which is his natural bait) when he lies close and unseen in the mud, he draws other smaller fish so close to him that he can suck them into his mouth, and so devours and digests them."
And, scholar, do not wonder at this, for besides the credit of the relater, you are to note, many of these, and fishes that are of the