Literary Devices Literary Devices    

Lesson 23: Foreshadowing: The Twins

by Henry Sambrooke Leigh

Performer: Librivox - Pamela Krantz

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.

    Literary Devices Literary Devices    

Lesson 23: Foreshadowing: The Twins

by Henry Sambrooke Leigh

Performer: Librivox - Pamela Krantz


Study the poem for one week.

Over the week:

  • Read or listen to the poem.
  • Review the synopsis.
  • Read about the poet.
  • Complete the enrichment activities.


In Henry Sambrooke Leigh's 'The Twins,' the narrator is confused with his identical twin, John, throughout his life. The confusion leads to negative and absurd consequences including being punished for his brother's misdeeds, his brother marrying the narrator's intended bride, and his brother being buried when the narrator died. In the poem, phrases such as 'It reached a fearful pitch' foreshadows the trouble the narrator and his brother will suffer from the twin-related mix-ups.


Poets often use literary devices, defined as 'rules of thumb, convention, or structure that are employed in literature and storytelling.'

The nine literary devices we'll study include:

  1. Rhyming
  2. Alliteration
  3. Similes
  4. Metaphors
  5. Personification
  6. Foreshadowing
  7. Allusion
  8. Hyperbole
  9. Onomatopoeia

Foreshadowing is a literary device whereby an author drops hints or symbolic representations of plot developments to come later in the story.


Activity 1: Recite Poem Information

Recite the title of the poem and the name of the poet.

Activity 2: Study the Poem Picture

Study the poem picture and describe how it relates to the poem. How does the image differ from the poem?

Activity 3: Recite the Poem

Practice reciting the poem aloud.

Activity 4: Identify Foreshadowing in the Examples

Read aloud the examples below and predict the future event being foreshadowed.

  • 'Did you feel that?' Timmy asked. 'I felt an odd chill.'
  • The phone rang again and again, but each time Suzy picked up the phone, there was no one on the other line.
  • The town's siren wailed, and all of the townsfolk gathered on the street.
  • A foreboding chill creeped along my spine as I entered the blackness of the haunted house.
  • The mysterious fortune teller raised her eyebrows. 'You will struggle greatly in your youth, but one day, your heroic acts will save many lives and gain you fame and fortune.'

Activity 5: Identify the Rhyme Scheme

Review the poem and identify the pattern of its rhyming scheme. (e.g. ABBACDCD, etc.)

Activity 6: Identify Alliteration

Review the poem and point out any instances of alliteration.

Activity 7: Identify Foreshadowing

Review the poem excerpts. How do they foreshadow the future?

  • Your eyes said more to me that night - Than your lips would ever say...
  • I thought I had forgotten, But it all came back again

Activity 8: Complete Book Activities   

  • Click the crayon above, and complete pages 70-72 of 'Elementary Poetry 5: Literary Devices.'


  1. 'Foreshadowing.' Wikipedia. n.p.