Study to Be Quiet- by Louise Segreto, Chapter Historian
Think of the noise in your life. We are bombarded by man-made sounds that intrude upon our thoughts causing stress and fatigue. Have you ever considered what the long term effect of living in such a noisy world might be?
The phrase “Study to be Quiet” was one of Izaak Walton’s favorite mottos. It embodied Walton’s philosophy and way of life. So important to him was the tranquility and solace that he found in angling that he chose to end his most famous book “Compleat Angler” with these final four words: “Study to be Quiet”.
Walton died December 15, 1683 at the age of 90 and was buried in Winchester Cathedral, England. Winchester is about seventy miles south east of London. The Cathedral’s south transept contains a small simple chapel with a stained-glass window. Funded by English and American fishermen in 1914, it is a memorial to Izaak Walton. The window depicts Walton sitting quietly reading, his fishing rod beside him. Below the image, written in stained glass: “Study to be Quiet”. Fisherman’s Chapel at Winchester Cathedral has become a place of pilgrimage for anglers from all over the world.
The phrase “Study to be Quiet” is Biblical in origin (1 Thessalonians 4:11). While Biblical scholars attribute the verse to the virtue in being humble in spirit, word and action, Walton appropriated and expanded the phrase to extol the spiritual benefits gained by quiet contemplation immersed in nature angling in his beloved trout streams.
Walton lived during turbulent times in England. A bloody civil war raged across England for almost ten years (1642-1651). Additionally, Walton suffered profound personal losses in the deaths of two wives and eight young children. Angling and writing offered Walton a place of respite for peace and emotional healing. He found the close friendships and insights into nature formed during angling to be far more compelling than the number of fish that he hooked.
I find that the phrase “Study to be Quiet” is as relevant today as when Izaak Walton lived. During these trying times of political turmoil, heightened reliance on technology, and increased detachment from our natural world, all of us would do well to heed Izaak Walton’s favorite motto.