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of Bath and Wells. If there be a name to which I have been accustomed from my earliest youth to look up with reverential awe, it is that of this amiable prelate. The primitive innocence of his life, the suavity of his disposition, his taste for poetry and music, his acquirements as a polite scholar, his eloquence in the pulpit (for he was pronounced by James the Second to be the first preacher among the Protestant divines), these endearing qualities ensure to him our esteem and affection. But what principally commands our veneration, is that invincible inflexibility of temper, which rendered him superior to every secular consideration. When from a strict adherence to the dictates of conscience he found himself reduced to a private station, he dignified that station by the magnanimity of his demeanour, by a humble and serene patience, by an ardent but unaffected piety.
In 1643, Mr. Walton, having declined business, retired to a small estate in Staffordshire, not far from the town of Stafford. His loyalty made him obnoxious to the ruling powers; and we are assured by himself, that he was a sufferer during the time of the civil wars. In 1643 the Covenanters came back into England, marching with the Covenant gloriously upon their pikes and in their hats, with this motto, "For the Crown and Covenant of both Kingdoms." "This," he adds, "I saw, and suffered by it. But when I look back upon the ruin of families, the bloodshed, the decay of common honesty, and how the former piety and plain dealing of this now sinful nation is turned into cruelty and cunning; when I consider this, I praise God, that he prevented me from being of that party, which helped to bring in this Covenant, and those sad confusions that have followed it." He persevered in the most inviolable attachment to the royal cause. In many of his writings he pathetically laments the afflictions of his sovereign, and the wretched condition of his beloved country, involved in all the miseries of intestine dissensions. The incident of his being instrumental in preserving the lesser George, which belonged to Charles the Second, is related in " Ashmole's History of the Order of the Garter."
We may now apply to him what has been said of Mr. Cowley: "Some few friends, a book, a cheerful heart, and innocent conscience, were his companions." In this scene of rural privacy
he was not unfrequently indulged with the company of learned and good men. Here, as in a safe and peaceful asylum, they met with the most cordial and grateful reception. And we are informed by the Oxford antiquary, that, whenever he went from home, he resorted principally to the houses of the eminent clergymen of the church of England, of whom he was much beloved. To a man desirous of dilating his intellectual improvements, no conversation could be more agreeable, than that of those divines, who were known to have distinguished him with their personal regard.
The Roman poet, of whom it has been remarked, that he made the happiest union of the courtier and the scholar, was of plebeian origin. Yet such was the attraction of his manners and deportment, that he classed among his friends the first and most illustrious of his contemporaries, Plotius and Varus, Pollio and Fuscus, the Visci and the Messalæ. Nor was Isaak Walton less fortunate in his social connexions. The times in which he lived were times of gloomy suspicion, of danger and distress, when a severe scrutiny into the public and private behaviour of men established a rigid discrimination of character. He must therefore be allowed to have possessed a peculiar excellency of disposition, who conciliated to himself an habitual intimacy with Usher, the Apostolical Primate of Ireland, with Archbishop Sheldon, with Morton, Bishop of Durham, Pearson of Chester, and Sanderson of Lincoln, with the ever-memorable Mr. John Hales of Eton, and the judicious Mr. Chillingworth; in short, with those who were most celebrated for their piety and learning. Nor could he be deficient in urbanity of manners or elegance of taste, who was the companion of Sir Henry Wotton,* the most accomplished gen
*"My next and last example shall be that undervaluer of money, the late Provost of Eton College, Sir Henry Wotton, a man with whom I have often fished and conversed; a man, whose foreign employments in the service of this nation, and whose experience, learning, wit, and cheerfulness, made his company to be esteemed one of the delights of mankind.”—(Complete Angler. P. I. Ch. I.)
In Sir Henry Wotton's verses, written by him as he sat fishing on the bank of a river, he probably alludes to Walton himself, who often accompanied him in his innocent amusement:
"There stood my friend with patient skill,
tleman of his age. The singular circumspection which he ob served in the choice of his acquaintance, has not escaped the no. tice of Mr. Cotton. 66 My father Walton," says he, "will be seen twice in no man's company he does not like; and likes none but such as he believes to be very honest men; which is one of the best arguments, or at least of the best testimonies I have, that I either am, or that he thinks me one of those, seeing I have not yet found him weary of me."
Before his retirement into the country, he published the Life of Dr. Donne. It was originally appended to "LXXX Sermons, preached by that learned and reverend divine, John Donne, Doctor in Divinity, late Dean of the Cathedral Church of St. Paul's, London, 1640." He had been solicited by Sir Henry Wotton, to supply him with materials for writing that Life. Sir Henry dy. ing in 1639, before he had made any progress in the work, Izaak Walton engaged in it. This, his first essay in biography, was by more accurate revisals corrected, and considerably enlarged in subsequent editions. Donne has been principally commended as a poet :-Walton, who, as it has been already remarked, was a constant hearer of his sermons, makes him known to us as a preacher, eloquent, animated, affecting. His poems, like the sky bespangled with small stars, are occasionally interspersed with the ornaments of fine imagery. They must, however, be pro
That this amiable and excellent person set a high value on the conversation of his humble friend, appears from the following letter:
poor friend to serve you,
"H. WOTTON." (Reliquia Wottonianæ, p. 361. 4th edit.)
"MY WORTHY FRIEND,
"Since I last saw you, I have been confined to my chamber by a quotidiar fever, I thank God, of more contumacy than malignity. It had once left me, as I thought, but it was only to fetch more company, returning with a surcrew of those splenetic vapours, that are called hypocondrical; of which most say the cure is good company, and I desire no better physician than yourself. I have in one of those fits endeavoured to make it more easy by composing a short hynın; and since I have apparelled my best thoughts so lightly as in verse, I hope shall be pardoned a second vanity, if I communicated it with such a friend as yourself; to whom I wish a cheerful spirit, and a thankful heart to value it, as one of the greatest blessings of our good God; in whose dear love I leave you, remaining
nounced generally devoid of harmony of numbers, or beauty of versification. Involved in the language of metaphysical obscurity, they cannot be read but with fastidiousness. They abound in false thoughts, affected phrases, and unnatural conceits. His sermons, though not without that pedantry which debases the writings of almost all the divines of those times, are often written with energy, elegance, and copiousness of style. Yet it must be confessed, that all the wit and eloquence of the author have been unable to secure them from neglect.
An instance of filial gratitude and affection occurs in a letter from Mr. John Donne, junior, to Mr. Izaak Walton, thanking him for writing his father the Dean's Life.
"I send this book rather to witness my debt, than to make any payment. For it would be incivil in me to offer any satisfaction for that that all my father's friends, and indeed all good men, are so equally engaged. Courtesies that are done to the dead being examples of so much piety, that they cannot have their reward in this life, because lasting as long, and still (by awakening the like charity in others) propagating the debt, they must expect a retribution from him, who gave the first inclination.
"2. And by this circle, Sir, I have set you in my place, and instead of making you a payment, I have made you a debtor; but 'tis to Almighty God, to whom I know you will be so willingly committed, that I may safely take leave to write myself, "Your thankful servant, "JO. DONNE.
"From my house in Covent-Garden,}
It is difficult to discover what correspondence subsisted between our biographer and the writer of the preceding letter, who, having been admitted to the degree of doctor of laws in the university of Padua, was incorporated in that degree at Oxford, in 1638. In a will which was printed in 1662, Dr. John Donne, junior, bequeathed all his father's writings, with his " Common-Place Book," to Izaak Walton, for the use of his son, if he should be brought
up a scholar. That he was a clergyman, and had some preferment in the diocese of Peterborough, we learn from a letter writ ten to him by Dr. John Towers, Bishop of Peterborough, his diocesan; wherein his lordship thanks him for the first volume of his father's sermons, telling him, that his parishioners may pardon his silence to them for a while, since by it he hath preached to them and to their children's children, and to all our English parishes, for ever. Anthony Wood, although he describes him as a man of sense and parts, is unfavourable to his memory. He represents him as no better than "an atheistical buffoon, a banterer, and a person of over-free thoughts, yet valued by Charles the Second." With a sarcasm not unusual to him, he informs his reader, that Dr. Walter Pope "leads an epicurean and heathenish life, much like to that of Dr. Donne, the son." Bishop Kennet, in his "Register," p. 318, calling him, by mistake, Dr. John Downe, names him as the editor of "A Collection of Letters made by Sir Toby Matthews, knight," with a character of the most excellent lady, Lucy, Countess of Carlisle, by the same author; to which are added several letters of his own to several persons of honour, who were contemporary with him, London, 1660, 8vo. I cannot but observe, that he neither consulted the reputation of his father, nor the public good, when he caused the "Biathanatos” to be printed. If he was determined, at all events, to disregard the injunctions of parental authority, would it not have been more expedient to have committed the manuscript to the flames, rather than to have encountered the hazard of diffusing certain novel opinions, from which no good consequences could possibly arise? For though those effects did not actually follow, which are mentioned by an industrious foreign writer, who tells us, that on the first publication of this work, many persons laid violent hands on themselves; yet the most remote probability of danger accruing from it should have induced him entirely to have suppressed it. But to return from this digression.
The narrative of the vision in this Life of Dr. Donne hath subjected the author to some severe animadversions. Let it however be remembered, that he probably related the matter with cautious and discreet fidelity, as it was really represented to him. The account is not inserted in the earlier editions of Dr. Donne's