Charles Cotton

Charles Cotton Poems

AWAY to the brook,
All your tackle out look,
Here's a day that is worth a year's wishing;
See that all things be right,

WHEN, Coelia, must my old day set,
   And my young morning rise
In beams of joy so bright as yet
   Ne'er bless'd a lover's eyes?

WHY, let is run! who bids it stay?
Let us the while be merry;
Time there in water creeps away,
With us it posts in sherry.

THE Day grows hot, and darts his rays
From such a sure and killing place,
That half this World are fain to fly
The danger of his burning eye.

Charles Cotton Biography

Charles Cotton was an English poet and writer, best known for translating the work of Michel de Montaigne from the French, for his contributions to The Compleat Angler, and for the highly influential The Compleat Gamester which has been attributed to him. Early Life He was born at Beresford Hall on the border of Derbyshire and Staffordshire. His father, Charles Cotton the Elder, was a friend of Ben Jonson, John Selden, Sire Henry Wottonand Izaak Walton. The son was apparently not sent to university, but was tutored by Ralph Rawson, one of the fellows ejected from Brasenose College, Oxford, in 1648. Cotton travelled in France and perhaps in Italy, and at the age of twenty-eight he succeeded to an estate greatly encumbered by lawsuits during his father's lifetime. The rest of his life was spent chiefly in country pursuits, but from his Voyage to Ireland in Burlesque (1670) we know that he held a captain's commission and served in Ireland. Fishing His friendship with Izaak Walton began about 1655, and contradicts the assumptions about Cotton's character based on his coarse burlesques of Virgil and Lucian. Walton's initials made into a cipher with Cotton's own were placed over the door of Cotton's fishing cottage on the Dove near Hartington. Cotton contributed a second section "Instructions how to angle for a trout or grayling in a clear stream", to Walton's The Compleat Angler; the additions consisted of twelve chapters on fishing in clear water, which he understood largely but not exclusively to be fly fishing. Marriages In 1656 he married his cousin Isabella Hutchinson, the daughter of Charles Hutchinson, M.P. for Nottingham. She was a half-sister of Col. John Hutchinson; They had one child, Catherine Cotton, who married Sir Kingsmill Lucy, 2nd bt. her mother Isebella (Hutchinson) Cotton, died in 1670. At the request of his wife's sister, Miss Stanhope Hutchinson, he undertook the translation of Pierre Corneille's Horace in 1671. In 1675, he married the dowager Countess of Ardglass; she had a jointure of £1500 a year, but he did not have the power to spend it. Writings The 1674 first edition of The Compleat Gamester is attributed to Cotton (by publishers of later editions, to which additional, post-Cotton material was added in 1709 and 1725, along with some updates to the rules Cotton had described earlier. The book was considered the "standard" English-language reference work on the playing of games – especially gambling games, and including billiards, card games, dice, horse racing and cock fighting, among others – until the publication of Edmond Hoyle's Mr. Hoyle's Games Complete in 1750, which outsold Cotton's then-obsolete work. At Cotton's death in 1687 he was insolvent and left his estates to his creditors. He was buried in St James's Church, Piccadilly, on February 16, 1687. Cotton's reputation as a burlesque writer may account for the neglect with which the rest of his poems have been treated. Their excellence was not, however, overlooked by good critics. Coleridge praises the purity and unaffectedness of his style in Biographia Literaria, and Wordsworth (Preface, 1815) gave a copious quotation from the "Ode to Winter". The "Retirement" is printed by Walton in the second part of the Compleat Angler. He was a Derbyshire man: his father moved there from the South England to live on his wife's estates. The Peak district is no longer associated with trout fishing. In Cotton's day, the inaccessibility of good fishing spots was physical as well as legal. The opening chapters of his section of the Compleat Angler draw Cotton and his friend across a savage and mountainous landscape. The friend, who will be taught fly-fishing, expresses doubt as to whether they are still in Christendom. "What do I think? Why, I think it is the steepest place that ever sure men and horses went down; and that, if there be any safety at all, the safest way is to alight..." says the pupil. After he picked his way down, they reach a bridge. "Do you ... travel with wheelbarrows in this country" he asks. "Because this bridge certainly was made for nothing else; why, a mouse can hardly go over it: it is not two fingers broad." His masterpiece in translation, the Essays of M. de Montaigne (1685–1686, 1693, 1700, etc.), has often been reprinted, and still maintains its reputation; his other works include The Scarronides, or Virgil Travestie (1664–1670), a gross burlesque of the first and fourth books of the Aeneid, which ran through fifteen editions; Burlesque upon Burlesque, ... being some of Lucian's Dialogues newly put into English fustian (1675); The Moral Philosophy of the Stoicks (1667), from the French of Guillaume du Vair; The History of the Life of the Duke d'Espernon (1670), from the French of G Girard; the Commentaries (1674) of Blaise de Montluc; the Planter's Manual (1675), a practical book on arboriculture, in which he was an expert; The Wonders of the Peake (1681); the Compleat Gamester and The Fair one of Tunis, both dated 1674, are also assigned to Cotton.)

The Best Poem Of Charles Cotton

The Angler's Ballad

AWAY to the brook,
All your tackle out look,
Here's a day that is worth a year's wishing;
See that all things be right,
For 'tis a very spite
To want tools when a man goes a-fishing.

Your rod with tops two,
For the same will not do
If your manner of angling you vary
And full will you may think
If you troll with a pink,
One too weak will be apt to miscarry.

Then basket, neat made
By a master in's trade
In a belt at your shoulders must dangle;
For none e'er was so vain
To wear this to disdain,
Who a true Brother was of the Angle.

Next, pouch must not fail,
Stuff'd as full as a mail,
With wax, crewels, silks, hair, furs and feathers,
To make several flies,
For the several skies,
That shall kill in despite of all weathers.

The boxes and books
For your lines and your hooks,
And, though not for strict need notwithstanding,
Your scissors, and your hone
To adjust your points on,
With a net to be sure for your landing.

All these things being on,
'Tis high time we were gone,
Down, and upward, that all may have pleasure;
Till, here meeting at night,
We shall have the delight
To discourse of our fortunes at leisure.

The day's not too bright,
And the wind hits us right,
And all Nature does seem to invite us;
We have all things at will
For to second our skill,
As they all did conspire to delight us.

Or stream now, or still,
A large pannier will fill,
Trout and grayling to rise are so willing;
I dare venture to say
'Twill be a bloody day,
And we all shall be weary of killing.

Away then, away,
We lose sport by delay,
But first leave all our sorrows behind us;
If misfortune do come,
We are all gone from home,
And a-fishing she never can find us.

The Angler is free
From the cares that degree
Finds itself with so often tormented;
And though we should slay
Each a hundred to-day,
'Tis a slaughter needs ne'er be repented.

And though we display
All our arts to betray
What were made for man's pleasure and diet;
Yet both princes and states
May, for all our quaint baits,
Rule themselves and their people in quiet.

We scratch not our pates,
Nor repine at the rates
Our superiors impose on our living;
But do frankly submit,
Knowing they have more wit
in demanding, than we have in giving.

Whilst quiet we sit
We conclude all things fit,
Acquiescing with hearty submission;
For, though simple, we know
The soft murmurs will grow
At the last into down-right sedition.

We care not who says,
And intends it dispraise,
That an Angler t'a fool is next neighbour;
Let him prate, what care we,
We're as honest as he,
And so let him take that for his labour.

We covet no wealth
But the blessing of health,
And that greater good conscience within;
Such devotion we bring
To our God and our King,
That from either no offers can win.

Whilst we sit and fish
We do pray as we wish,
For long life to our King James the Second;
Honest Anglers then may,
Or they've very foul play,
With the best of good subjects be reckon'd.

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