Belfast Telegraph

UK Website Of The Year

Home Opinion Letters

Swift's raining cats and dogs

Published 13/05/2013

AS we continue to be doused in 50 shades of rain, I am reminded of one of my favourite writers, Jonathan Swift, and his musings on precipitation – Description of a City Shower, written in 1710 and published in The Tatler.

Swift begins: "Careful observers may foretell the hour (by sure prognostics) when to dread a shower" and then reveals the identify of his 18th century weather forecaster: "While rain depends, the pensive cat gives o'er her frolics and pursues her tail no more."

Swift memorably characterised the harbinger of ill-weather as "a sable cloud ... that swilled more liquor than it could contain. And like a drunkard gives it up again" and finishes with a veritable lashing of the populace below by "drown'd puppies" and "dead cats".

So now we know where "raining cats and dogs" came from.



Belfast Telegraph

Your Comments

COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The moderator will not enter into debate with individual contributors and the moderator’s decision is final. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. We may also close comments on articles which are being targeted for abuse. Problems with commenting?

Read More

From Belfast Telegraph