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“ON CoNTENTEDNEss. By Jeremiah Taylor.
“Pirtues and discourses are like friends, necessary in all fortunes; but those are the best which are friends in our sadnesses, and support us in our sorrows and sad accidents; and, in this sense, no man that is virtuous can be friendless, since God has appointed one remedy for all the evils of the world, and that is, a contented spirit.
“Now suppose thyself in as great sadness as ever did load thy spirit, wouldst thou not bear it nobly and cheerfully, if thou wast sure some excellent fortune would welcome thee, and enrich thee, and recompense thee, so as to overflow all thy hopes, and desires, and capacities 2 Now, then, when a sadness lies heavy upon thee, REMEMBER THAT THou ART A chRISTIAN, designed to the inheritance of JESUs.
“Or art thou fallen into the hands of publicans and sequestrators — and they have taken ALL from me!— What now? let me look about me; they have left me the sun and the Moon, fire and water, a Loving wife, and MANY FRIENDs, to pity me, and some to RELIEVE me; and I can still discourse; and, unless I list, they have not taken away my cHEERFUL SPIRIT, and a Good conscience; they have still left me the PRovIDENCE of GoD, and all the PROMISEs of THE Gospel, and my religion, and my hopes of Heaven, and my charity to THEM too: I read and meditate: I can walk in my neighbours' pleasant fields, and see the varieties of nature's beauties, and delight in all that in which God delights, that is, virtue and wisdom in his whole creation, and in GoD HIMSELF.” Taylor's “Holy Living and Dying.” Well, time is stealing. The young King is at present at the Hague! I hasten to join him, and partake his fortunes. Your hand, dutiful and good Kenna: continue to love your husband — breed up your daughter in attachment to the form of religion in which you have found so much comfort. And— my voice begins to falter— your hand, my worthy, my benevolent, my generous friend. I pray Almighty God to bless you both. I shall think of you in the distant land; I shall pray—but the tear is on my lid—farewell—farewell! Piscator.—Good Master Morley, if we must part this night, hear me now, and Kenna will join with me in this mine entreaty. I have this morning, in the river Trent, where I pursued my contemplative recreation, hooked a fine trout. As it is the first, so it may be the best I shall meet with this season; for you must note that a trout is very poor till it gets into the clear, sharp streams, in spring—but let me ask, trusting to forgiveness, whether you have power of bearing your charges, in your changed fortunes, to the distant countries you think of visiting 2 I can yet spare —
Morley.—Say no more, good and kind friend, if you love me. The desolate widow of the brave Lord Capel has taken care I shall not be destitute.
Piscator.—Then but one wish remains, in which, for our friendship of old, you will gratify me. Kenna shall put her babe to rest, and dress this last meal of contentedness, the TRouT, with such directions as I have given — then you shall read our prayers, for the last time, it may be — and then, Almighty God be with you wheresoever your journey lies in this wide world, and grant that we may yet, in some still time, come together again, where peace and happiness shall be with us to our life's end, and till we lay our burthens down in peace
- TO KENNA.
* He returned to Walton's cottage from the scene of execution of his brave friend Lord Capel.
* Anne, born 1677, and mother of William Hawkins. t Walton died 1683, aged ninety; Morley the year after, 1684, aged 87. They are buried in the same cathedral.
Let the curtain now draw up, and behold the same characters, unchanged, in an illustrious sphere, and with splendid associations. Behold Morley “my Lord of Winton,” in his Episcopal palace — Isaak Walton's daughter Anne, an infant in the Staffordshire cottage, a young woman of nineteen * — the son, Isaac Walton, junior, returned from Oxford. H. Poor Kenna is buried in peace, in Worcester Cathedral — her brother, the son of the attorney of Furnival's Inn, late the “poor scholar” of Wykeham's college, has been just elected Fellow— old Isaak himself, seeing his children, like Job, after his trials, in prosperity and happiness around him, tranquilly through the summer morning is seen angling in the Itchin! His room is furnished with his own books, in the palace. There he lived a beloved and honoured guest, with mild and lighted countenance, snow-white locks, a thankful, but humble heart — with piety as sincere as unostentatious — till he closed his eyes on all the “changes and chances " of his mortal life, at ninety years of age.
* Afterwards married to William Hawkins, Prebendary, father of Hawkins, Ken's biographer. t Afterwards Canon of Salisbury.
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