C.N. Douglas, comp. Forty Thousand Quotations: Prose and Poetical. 1917.


Angling is an innocent cruelty.

George Parker.

Idle time not idly spent.

Sir Henry Wotton.

Angling is somewhat like poetry; men are to be born so.

Izaak Walton.

Everything appertaining to the angler’s art is cowardly, cruel, treacherous, and cat-like.


The pleasantest angling is to see the fish cut with her golden oars the silver stream, and greedily devour the treacherous bait.


Doubt not but angling will prove to be so pleasant, that it will prove to be, like virtue, a reward to itself.

Izaak Walton.

I have known a very good fisher angle diligently four or six hours for a river carp, and not have a bite.

Izaak Walton.

We really cannot see what equanimity there is in jerking a lacerated carp out of the water by the jaws, merely because it has not the power of making a noise; for we presume that the most philosophic of anglers would hardly delight in catching shrieking fish.

Leigh Hunt.

  • But should you lure
  • From his dark haunt, beneath the tangled roots
  • Of pendent trees, the monarch of the brook,
  • Behooves you then to ply your finest art.
  • Thomson.

  • The first men that our Saviour dear
  • Did choose to wait upon Him here,
  • Blest fishers were; and fish the last
  • Food was, that He on earth did taste:
  • I therefore strive to follow those,
  • Whom He to follow Him hath chose.
  • Izaak Walton.

  • O! the gallant fisher’s life,
  • It is the best of any:
  • ’Tis full of pleasure, void of strife
  • And ’tis beloved by many.
  • Other joys
  • Are but toys;
  • Only this,
  • Lawful is;
  • For our skill
  • Breeds no ill,
  • But content and pleasure.
  • Izaak Walton.

    Though no participator in the joys of more vehement sport, I have a pleasure that I cannot reconcile to my abstract notions of the tenderness due to dumb creatures, in the tranquil cruelty of angling. I can only palliate the wanton destructiveness of my amusement by trying to assure myself that my pleasure does not spring from the success of the treachery I practise toward a poor little fish, but rather from that innocent revelry in the luxuriance of summer life which only anglers enjoy to the utmost.


  • In genial spring, beneath the quiv’ring shade,
  • Where cooling vapors breathe along the mead,
  • The patient fisher takes his silent stand,
  • Intent, his angle trembling in his hand;
  • With looks unmoved, he hopes the scaly breed,
  • And eyes the dancing cork and bending reed.
  • Pope.

    We may say of angling as Dr. Boteler said of strawberries, “Doubtless God could have made a better berry, but doubtless God never did;” and so, if I might be judge, God never did make a more calm, quiet, innocent recreation than angling.

    Izaak Walton.