Those of you acquainted with British weather will know that we do not have the hottest of climates. However, The Met Office reliably informed us earlier this year that this summer we were actually in for a bit of a scorcher (by UK standards, you understand). A collective cheer went up, and across the land barbeques and garden furniture were put on stand-by, ready for that first gleam of sun. The signs were good. We had – oooh – a week of 30+ degrees! And then it started raining again.
This week The Met Office officially revised its estimates of the kind of summer we could expect here in Blighty… and it’s considerably less exciting than previously hoped. Sure enough, as I sit and type this on a July afternoon in Oxford, the rain is beating off the windows with no sign of abating. With that in mind, I bring you some of my favourite rain-related quotes from The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations (new, seventh edition publishing in the UK in September). Now, where’s me brolly… ?
Whoso boasteth himself of a false gift is like clouds and wind without rain.
The Bible, Proverbs ch. 25, v. 11
It lessened my esteem of a king, that he should not be able to command the rain.
Samuel Pepys, Diary, 19 July 1662
Any party which takes credit for the rain must not be surprised if its opponents blame it for the drought.
Dwight Morrow, American lawyer, banker, and diplomat (attributed)
The drop of rain maketh a hole in the stone, not by violence, but by oft falling.
Hugh Latimer, English Protestant martyr, 19 April 1549
She faded, like a cloud which had outwept its rain.
Percy Bysshe Shelley, Adonais, st. 10, 1821
If in February there be no rain, ’tis neither good for hay nor grain.
early 18th century proverb
We swing ungirded hips,
And lightened are our eyes,
The rain is on our lips,
We do not run for prize.
Charles Hamilton Sorley, English poet, Song of the Ungirt Runners, 1916
It was a real slow walk in a real sad rain.
Johnny Cash, Drive On, 1993
And ghastly through the drizzling rain
On the bald streets breaks the blank day.
Alfred, Lord Tennyson, In Memoriam A.H.H., canto 7 (1850)
A duller spectacle this earth of ours has not to show than a rainy Sunday in London.
Thomas De Quincey, English essayist and critic, Confessions of an English Opium Eater, 1822 (ed. 1856)
She was the kind of wife who looks out of her front door in the morning and, if it’s raining, apologizes.
Fay Weldon, British novelist and screenwriter, Heart of the Country, 1987
My face looks like a wedding-cake left out in the rain.
W.H. Auden, quoted in Humphrey Carpenter, W.H. Auden, ch. 6, 1981