Brothers


How lovely the elder brother’s Life all laced in the other’s,

Lóve-laced!—what once I well Witnessed; so fortune fell.

When Shrovetide, two years gone,

Our boys’ plays brought on Part was picked for John,

Young Jóhn: then fear, then joy Ran revel in the elder boy.

Their night was come now; all Our company thronged the hall;

Henry, by the wall,

Beckoned me beside him:

I came where called, and eyed him By meanwhiles; making my

Turn most on tender byplay.

For, wrung all on love’s rack,

My lad, and lost in Jack,

Smiled, blushed, and bit his lip;

Or drove, with a diver’s dip,

Clutched hands down through clasped knees— Truth’s tokens tricks like these,

Old telltales, with what stress He hung on the imp’s success.

Now the other was bráss-bóld:

Hé had no work to hold His heart up at the strain;

Nay, roguish ran the vein.

Two tedious acts were past;

Jack’s call and cue at last;

When Henry, heart-forsook,

Dropped eyes and dared not look.

Eh, how áll rúng!

Young dog, he did give tongue!

But Harry—in his hands he has

His tear-tricked cheeks of flame For fond love and for shame.

Ah Nature, framed in fault,

There ’s comfort then, there ’s salt;

Nature, bad, base, and blind,

Dearly thou canst be kind;

There dearly thén, deárly,

I’ll cry thou canst be kind.

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