I am, I really think, the most unlucky man on earth;
A triple sorrow haunts me, and has done so from my birth.
My lot in life's a gloomy one, I think you will agree;
'Tis bad enough to be a twin—but I am one of three!
No sooner were we born than Pa and Ma the bounty claimed;
I scarce can bear to think they did—it makes me feel ashamed,
They got it, too, within a week, and spent it, I'll be bound,
Upon themselves—at least, I know I never had my pound.
Our childhood's days in ignorance were lamentably spent,
Although I think we more than paid the taxes, and the rent;
For we were shown as marvels, and—unless I'm much deceived—
The smallest contributions were most thankfully received.
We grew up hale and hearty—would we never had been born!—
As like to one another as three peas, or ears of corn.
Between my brothers Ichabod, Abimelech and me
No difference existed which the human eye could see.
This likeness was the cause of dreadful suffering and pain
To me in early life—it nearly broke my heart in twain;
For while my conduct as a youth was fervently admired,
That of my fellow-triplets left a deal to be desired.
I was amiable, and pious, too—good deeds were my delight,
I practised all the virtues—some by day and some by night;
Whilst Ichabod imbrued himself in crime, and, sad to say,
Abimelech, when quite a lad, would rather swear than pray.
Think of my horror and dismay when, in the Park at noon,
An obvious burglar greeted me with, "Hullo, Ike, old coon!"
He vanished. Suddenly my wrists were gripped by Policeman X——,
"Young man, you are my prisoner on a charge of forgin' cheques."
He ran me in, and locked me up, to moulder in a cell,
The reason why he used me thus, alas! I know too well.
He took me for Abimelech, my erring brother dear,
Who was "wanted" by the Bank of which he'd been the chief cashier.
Next morn the magistrate remarked, "This is a sad mistake,
Though natural enough, I much regret it for your sake;
But if you will permit me to advise you, I should say
Leave England for some other country, very far away.
"For if you go on living in this happy sea-girt isle,
Although your conduct (like my own) be pure and free from guile,
Your likeness to those sinful men, your brothers twain, will lead,
I fear, to very serious inconveniences indeed."
I took the hint, and sailed next day for distant Owhyhee,—
As might have been expected, I was cast away at sea.
A Pirate Lugger picked me up, and—dreadful to relate—
Abimelech her captain was, and Ichabod her mate.
I loved them and they tempted me. To join them I agreed,
Forsook the path of virtue, and did many a ghastly deed.
For seven years I wallowed in my fellow-creatures' gore,
And then gave up the business, to settle down on shore.
My brothers on retiring from the buccaneering trade,
In which, I'm bound to say, colossal fortunes they had made,
Renounced their wicked courses, married young and lovely wives,
Went to church three times on Sundays, and led sanctimonious lives.
As for me,—I somehow drifted into vileness past belief,
Earned unsavoury distinction as a drunkard and a thief;
E'en in crime, ill-luck pursued me: I became extremely poor,
And was finally compelled to beg my bread from door to door.
I'm deep down in the social scale, no lower can I sink;
Upon the whole, experience induces me to think
That virtue is not lucrative, and honesty's all fudge,—
For Ichabod's a Bishop—and Abimelech's a Judge!