Izaak Walton

    Izaak Walton was an English author, known as the father of angling; born at Stafford, England, Aug. 9, 1593. About 1623 he was carrying on business on his own account as a sempster or man milliner in London, and having by 1643 acquired a competency, he retired to the quiet enjoyment of country life. In London Walton had become intí­mate with Dr. Donne, Dr. Wharton, and Sir Henry Wotton. Walton's fame is mainly based on his Compleat Angler; or the Contemplative Man's Companion, which was first published in 1653 and appeared in a considerably modified form in 1655. Few more popular books exist, and the editions are consequently numerous. Walton's nat­ural history is frequently of the crudest and most credulous kind; his practical precepts are open to correction at the hands of the modern proficient; he possesses only a partial mastery over the difficult literary form (that of the dialogue) in which his work is cast; his style is remarkable neither for rugged strength nor polished precision; but he succeeded in catching the spirit both of the gentle craft and the pleasant English scenery in which he had learned its delights. On the publication of Dr. Donne's Sermons Walton supplied a Life of the author, and he afterward wrote similar lives of Wotton, Hooker (1665), Herbert (1670), and Sanderson (1678). A monument to Walton was placed in St. Mary's Church, Stafford (the church of his baptism), in 1878. He died in Winchester, England, Dec. 15, 1683.