Thomas Westwood

Walton's "Compleat Angler"

What, not a word for thee, O little tome?
Brown-jerkined, friendly-faced--of all my books
The one that wears the quaintest, kindliest looks--
Seems most completely, cosily at home,
Amongst its fellows. Ah! if thou couldst tell
Thy story--how, in sixteen fifty-three,
Good Master Marriot, standing at his door,
Saw anglers hurrying--fifty--nay, threescore,
To buy thee, ere noon pealed from Dunstan's bell:--
And how he stared and. . . shook his sides with glee.
One story, this, which fact or fiction weaves.
Meanwhile, adorn my shelf, beloved of all--
Old book! with lavender between thy leaves,
And twenty ballads round thee on the wall.

(Text from Fisherman's Verse (Haynes and Harrison, eds, 1919).)