1821 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Charles Cotton

John Edwards, in Tour of the Dove (1821; 1825) 53-54.



Enough, methinks, is told of Nature's grace,
Poured freely on this stream, to anglers dear.
Diviner worth has sanctified the place.
Their tops above it, leads me to revere
The seal of Friendship warm as filial love.
Twined in one cypher, on the front appear
Walton and Cotton's names; there fixed to prove
A record of affection near their favorite Dove.

The heroism of friendship, he could tell
Who lay in jeopardy by Ezel's-stone;
What time beyond its mark the arrow fell
Winged with his adverse fate. There, met alone,
Wept Jonathan and David, till the moan
Of David's grief prevailed: and when, erelong,
His friend among the mighty lay o'erthrown
Upon Gilboa's mountains, O how strong
He poured his loud lament, in agony of song!

But here the affections flowed in a more calm
Though varied tenor. Cheerful, sage, and mild,
Walton's discourse was like the honey balm
Distilled by flowers. Along these waters wild,
Smit with the love of angling, he beguiled,
With his adopted son, the hours away:
While Cotton owned the fondness of a child
For him, in whose glad company to stay,
Had made the whole year pass like one sweet month of May.