A good life tip is if you ever have some errand to run in New York City and you don’t want to deal with a long line, do it when it’s raining. People don’t like the rain and they run from it as though it were droplets of poison falling from the sky and not water. But the rain is good, eh! Neat, you dig? Fun, it is? Yes, I think so.
The most famous Shakespeare line about rain is, I think, from Merchant of Venice, when Portia compares it to mercy:
The quality of mercy is not strained.
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath.
It is twice blessed.
It blesseth him that gives
and him that takes.
And that’s a great one! It says everything you feel like you’ve experienced when you’ve experienced the sensation of rain. It strikes the right chord. It’s this cleansing and redemptive and celestial sort of thing. It’s a bit beyond your control and it takes catching it and being touched by it and being blessed by it. It freshens the soul and quickens the mind and wipes clean the mortal dirt off your face.
There’s another one though that I love and it’s Richard II. The titular character is down on his luck and feeling sorry for himself and he upbraids his staff, “No matter where: Of comfort, let no man speak. Let’s talk of graves, of worms, and epitaphs, make dust our paper and with rainy eyes write sorrow on the bosom of the world.” The most famous line in the monologue is “For god’s sake, let us sit upon the ground and tell sad stories of the death of kings.” Because he’s a sad weak ruler and he’s about to get killed. And he spends the whole speech whining about his problems, cursing his lot in life, blaming everyone else, and lamenting the sophistry of royalty. In the end he tells his servants, “You have mistook me all this while, I live with bread like you, feel want, taste grief, need friends—subjected thus how can you say that I am a King?” Because kings are people too!
Today it was raining in New York City and I went walking in it and it felt like Merchant and it was invigorating and cleansing, and all the tumult of the year, its film, was temporarily cleansed off my skin, and it felt good and healthy and lovely and other positive synonyms along those lines. And in DC, the weather report says it was not raining, but that didn’t stop our weak, friendless, lame-duck leader from writing sorrow on the bosom of the Earth.
Have a nice day!
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