Fishing time coming.
When it was known that a certain French King
was dead, a certain French wag wrote to a friend, ‘"the king died yesterday; the sun rose this morning."’ We say this was the dictum of some French wag, with regard to some French king.
But we are by no means certain that either party was a Frenchman nor do we know where we saw the anecdote.
To tell the truth, the French
are so witty, and so full of what they call bons mots,
that they have to father a vast deal of bastard wit. The necessity of locating
(to use an American phrase) everything in these matter-of-fact days, alone induces us to lay this bantling at the door of some Frenchman.
We hope none of that gallant nation may be ever made responsible for bantlings of a less equivocal description.
But as we were saying, somebody, somewhere, said in a letter — or wrote
if you will insist on speaking by the card — when some king of some country died, on some occasion, what we have stated above, viz: "The king died yesterday; the sun rose this morning." And so we will be bound to say he did, exactly at the same hour he had risen one year before.
The sun is himself a king, and he lays abed for no man, be he king or Kaiser
He is a punctual monarch, and always comes up to time.
Now, we do not think it the best taste in the world to crack a joke at the expense of misfortune.
Therefore, in all seriousness, we will observe, that as the sun did not refuse to shine because a king of France
died, so also it does not break in upon its accustomed hours, because the Union
has been broken up. On the contrary, it seems to have broken out in a fresh place within the last week.
All the little birds are upon the wing, all the trees are getting ready for a spread, and all the fishermen are arming for the rivers and ponds.
We wish them all joy, and we wish them all luck.
The time was when we should have been with them.
But it is all in the head now. We talk about fishing — we fancy it glorious sport — we wish for the fishing season to come — but it is no go. We do not enjoy it as we used to. The froth is gone from the champagne, and the body is insipid.
It was youth, freshness, high spirits, that made us enjoy it in the olden time.
‘"My mind to me a kingdom is,"’ says old Byrd,
and so it is to every man. Happiness comes from within.
The imagination has more to do with it than people are willing to admit; and, alas!
old men have no imagination, and, so far as this world is concerned, no future.
‘"There's not a joy the world can give, Like that it takes away."’
So wrote a young Lord
, twenty-six years old, with half the world at his feet, and the rest praying to be conquered as a boon.
We wonder what he would have said if he had lived to fifty, working all the time for the salt in his bread, never having a dollar he could call his own, scratching out a scant livelihood with a pen, with not the slightest hope of anything better this side of the grave.
He would have found out the world had some joys it could give and wouldn't, to a dead certainty.
We have heard people say that the world owed them a livelihood.
We suppose it owes us one, too. If it does, it is a confounded bad paymaster — that is all we can say. It has swindled us, beyond a peradventure.
We wish it could be taught honesty. --We wish it could be made to pay its debts, if it really does owe us anything.
We should suspect, the joys which the above poet speaks of as being taken away by the world, meant the aforesaid living.
But the world never gave us that living, and therefore cannot take away what we never had. Upon the whole, the conduct of the world about that living it owes us, convinces us that it is a swindler.
When we go about the bright waters, this beautiful sunny weather, we almost wish we were a fisherman by trade.
It is such a lazy, don't-care-for-anybody kind of life.
The lazzaroni of Naples
, we believe, are all fishermen.
At least the opera of Massaniello impresses us with that idea, and we don't know that we are bound to quote higher authority.
The great Duke
derived all his knowledge of English history from Shakspeare
We are certainly not required to be better informed than the Duke
We never saw Naples
, and never expect to see it. But we suspect these lazzoroni must be happy fellows.
They have nothing to do, and they do it. We call fishing next to nothing.
Any man can make a fisherman, provided his name be not Peter.
Juliet says, a ‘"rose by any other name will smell as sweet,"’ but the fish do not agree with her in opinion.
They stand upon names.
They believe in names as firmly a Tristram Shandy
.They will not bite at the hook, if the rod is held by a man named Peter. If a man named Peter cast a net or a sein they will not be taken.
They do not like the name of Peter. Their antipathy to it is traditional.
It has come down to them from the apostolic age. One of the disciples was namedPeter, and he fished a whole night without getting a nibble.
We could cite an example to the same purport, in our own day, and our own city.
But it is our policy studiously to avoid personalities.
The inference is enough.
will not be caught by any man bearing the name of Peter. Therefore, we say to those who live by fishing, and bring up their offspring to the same calling, ‘"if you have a dozen sons, don't name one of them Peter, If you do you, will spoil him for a fisherman, for his whole life to come."’