In Praise of Angling

Here are no entrapping baits
To hasten to too hasty fates;
Unless it be
The fond credulity
Of silly fish, which (worldling like) still look
Upon the bait, but never on the hook;
Nor envy, ‘less among
The birds, for prize of their sweet song.

Go, let the diving negro seek
For gems, hid in some forlorn creek;
We all pearls scorn,
Save what the dewy morn
Congeals upon each little spire of grass,
Which careless shepherds beat down as they pass;
And gold ne’er here appears,
Save what the yellow Ceres bears.

Blest silent groves, O, may you be
Forever mirth’s best nursery!
May pure contents
Forever pitch their tents
Upon these downs, these rocks, these mountains,
And peace still slumber by these purling fountains,
Which we may every year
Meet, when we come a-fishing here.

Henry Wotton, ‘In Praise of Angling’ (16??), last three stanzas

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