2.3 The Twins

In form and feature, face and limb,

I grew so like my brother,

That folks got taking me for him,

And each for one another.

It puzzled all our kith and kin,

It reached a fearful pitch;

For one of us was born a twin,

Yet not a soul knew which.

One day, to make the matter worse,

Before our names were fixed,

As we were being washed by nurse

We got completely mixed;

And thus, you see, by fate’s decree,

Or rather nurse’s whim,

My brother John got christened me,

And I got christened him.

This fatal likeness even dogged

My footsteps, when at school,

And I was always getting flogged,

For John turned out a fool.

I put this question, fruitlessly,

To everyone I knew,

‘What would you do, if you were me,

To prove that you were you?’

Our close resemblance turned the tide

Of my domestic life,

For somehow, my intended bride

Became my brother’s wife.

In fact, year after year the same

Absurd mistakes went on,

And when I died, the neighbours came

And buried brother John.

Henry Sambrooke Leigh