by Henry Sambrooke Leigh (1837 - 1883)

The twins
Language: English 
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 [an awful]1 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]2 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 [hopelessly]3
  To every one 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 short, year after year the same
  Absurd mistakes went on;
And when I died - the neighbours came
  And buried brother John!

View original text (without footnotes)
1 Head: "a fearful"
2 Head: "was"
3 Head: "fruitlessly"

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