How to tell if it’s going to rain

“The hollow winds begin to blow,
The cloud looks black, the grass is low.
The soot falls down, the spaniels sleep,
And spiders from their cob-webs creep.
Last night the sun went pale to bed
The moon in halos hid her head
The boding shepherd heaves a sigh
For see, a rainbow spans the sky.”

So beings the poem “Signs of Rain” by Edward Jenner (1749-1823). Yes, that Edward Jenner of smallpox fame! The poem is also known by its subtitle, “Forty Reasons for Declining an Invitation to an Excursion.”

These three typed pages of this poem belong to the Indiana Writers Program Collection, Special Collections Department at Indiana State University Library.

This assignment on folklore and poetry was completed by Lucile Conn. To view the document more closely, click here.

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