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 neighbors came
And buried brother John!
Henry S. Leigh (1837 – 1883)