Verse > Anthologies > The World’s Best Poetry > Vol. V. Nature
Bliss Carman, et al., eds.  The World’s Best Poetry.
Volume V. Nature.  1904.
III. The Seasons
Signs of Rain
Dr. Edward Jenner
Forty Reasons for Not Accepting an Invitation of a Friend to Make an Excursion with Him 1

  THE HOLLOW winds begin to blow;
2  The clouds look black, the glass is low,
3  The soot falls down, the spaniels sleep,
4  And spiders from their cobwebs peep.
5  Last night the sun went pale to bed,        5
6  The moon in halos hid her head;
7  The boding shepherd heaves a sigh,
8  For see, a rainbow spans the sky!
9  The walls are damp, the ditches smell,
10  Closed is the pink-eyed pimpernel.        10
11  Hark how the chairs and tables crack!
12  Old Betty’s nerves are on the rack;
13  Loud quacks the duck, the peacocks cry,
14  The distant hills are seeming nigh.
15  How restless are the snorting swine!        15
16  The busy flies disturb the kine,
17  Low o’er the grass the swallow wings,
18  The cricket, too, how sharp he sings!
19  Puss on the hearth, with velvet paws,
20  Sits wiping o’er her whiskered jaws;        20
21  Through the clear streams the fishes rise,
22  And nimbly catch the incautious flies.
23  The glow-worms, numerous and light,
24  Illumed the dewy dell last night;
25  At dusk the squalid toad was seen,        25
26  Hopping and crawling o’er the green;
27  The whirling dust the wind obeys,
28  And in the rapid eddy plays;
29  The frog has changed his yellow vest,
30  And in a russet coat is dressed.        30
31  Though June, the air is cold and still,
32  The mellow blackbird’s voice is shrill;
33  My dog, so altered in his taste,
34  Quits mutton-bones on grass to feast;
35  And see yon rooks, how odd their flight!        35
36  They imitate the gliding kite,
37  And seem precipitate to fall,
38  As if they felt the piercing ball.
39  ’T will surely rain; I see with sorrow,
40  Our jaunt must be put off to-morrow.        40
Note 1. “Verified by Darwin,” says C. C. Bombaugh in his “Gleanings from the Harvest Fields of Literature,” though his version of the lines varies somewhat from this. [back]

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