phrases, sayings, idioms and expressions at

Phrases, Sayings and Idioms Home > Discussion Forum

Rhyme foretelling rain: 'Old Betty's joints are on the rack'

Posted by Magnus on June 20, 2004

Rhyme foretelling rain: 'Old Betty's joints are on the rack';

this is from a poem by Dr. Edward Jenner (1749-1823) who by the way discovered the smallpox vaccine; the poem is called 'Signs of rain' and the text goes like this

'Hard how the chairs and tables crack!
Old Betty's joints are on the rack;
Her corns with shooting pains torment her,
And to her bed untimely send her.

I'm not sure about the line
Old Betty's joints are on the rack
Is it an Irish or English rhyme foretelling rain and if so what's the origin and who was Old Betty?

Thanks to ESC for contribution on whistles