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Bliss Carman, et al., eds. The World’s Best Poetry. 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

1THE HOLLOW winds begin to blow;

2The clouds look black, the glass is low,

3The soot falls down, the spaniels sleep,

4And spiders from their cobwebs peep.

5Last night the sun went pale to bed,

6The moon in halos hid her head;

7The boding shepherd heaves a sigh,

8For see, a rainbow spans the sky!

9The walls are damp, the ditches smell,

10Closed is the pink-eyed pimpernel.

11Hark how the chairs and tables crack!

12Old Betty’s nerves are on the rack;

13Loud quacks the duck, the peacocks cry,

14The distant hills are seeming nigh.

15How restless are the snorting swine!

16The busy flies disturb the kine,

17Low o’er the grass the swallow wings,

18The cricket, too, how sharp he sings!

19Puss on the hearth, with velvet paws,

20Sits wiping o’er her whiskered jaws;

21Through the clear streams the fishes rise,

22And nimbly catch the incautious flies.

23The glow-worms, numerous and light,

24Illumed the dewy dell last night;

25At dusk the squalid toad was seen,

26Hopping and crawling o’er the green;

27The whirling dust the wind obeys,

28And in the rapid eddy plays;

29The frog has changed his yellow vest,

30And in a russet coat is dressed.

31Though June, the air is cold and still,

32The mellow blackbird’s voice is shrill;

33My dog, so altered in his taste,

34Quits mutton-bones on grass to feast;

35And see yon rooks, how odd their flight!

36They imitate the gliding kite,

37And seem precipitate to fall,

38As if they felt the piercing ball.

39’T will surely rain; I see with sorrow,

40Our jaunt must be put off to-morrow.