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> On Rain

On Rain

Here's a funny little verse that I think of whenever I'm out in the rain.

The rain it raineth on the just
And also on the unjust fella;
But chiefly on the just, because
The unjust steals the just's umbrella.

I also think of it in connection with umbrellas, of course.

Why do I know the verse? Well, I read it somewhere or other, and made a note; but unfortunately I neglected to include the source, or even the author. The magic internet took care of the latter easily enough: apparently it's by Charles Bowen (and has no official title). The former was quite a mystery, however. I usually only read poetry by accident, in Familiar Quotations but it wasn't there. It wasn't in Le Ton beau de Marot, either; and nothing else on my bookshelf jumped out as a likely source. When I looked on the internet a bit more, though, I found a post at the Volokh Conspiracy that seemed vaguely familiar, and had the verse in one of the comments. So, I bet that's the source.

Although I didn't find the verse in Familiar Quotations, I did find some related things. I knew there was a Bible verse, but I didn't know the exact words.

He maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.

(Matthew 5 : 45) There's also a phrase that shows up twice in Shakespeare.

the rain it raineth every day.

So, Bowen's verse is a combination of the two! It's always nice to be reminded that memes were out there doing their thing well before there were computers and internets. For more about combining (or merging), see Object Frameworks.

 

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@ November (2006)