The KISS Grammar Workbooks Code and Color Key

Studies in Style

Stories of Robin Hood Told to the Children, by Henrietta Elizabeth Marshall

The Opening Sentences of Chapter Nine: The Death of Robin Hood
Analysis Key

      Robin Hoodlived to be very old [#1]. | [Adv. to the following "was" 

Though his hair waswhite (PA),] his backwas straight (PA) {as that}

{of a young man}. | He wasstrong (PA), and brave (PA) {as an old lion}, |

and his menlovedand obeyed him (DO) as much as ever. |

     [Adv. to "loved" As the years wenton] Little John and he lovedeach

other (DO) more and more. | They werehardly ever apart. |

     But {at last} Robinbegan to feelweak (PA) and ill (PA). |

1. "Old" is a predicate adjective after the infinitive "to be"; the infinitive functions as an adverb to "lived."
Points for Discussion

     The last sentence in this passage should help put to death that senseless rule about not beginning a sentence with "But." [For more on this, click here.]
     In discussing the two cases of compound complements (both predicate adjectives), you might want to spend a few minutes exploring why the first case ("strong, and brave") is separated by a comma whereas the second ("weak and ill") is not. My own sense is that the comma has two functions. First, it emphasizes the difference in meaning of  the two complements. "Strong" and "brave" are not the same thing, whereas "weak and ill" are much more interrelated. But most compounds list different things, so the comma also has the effect of presenting "brave" as a further consideration -- the result of additional thought. [If you have not read it, you might want to look at the KISS view of punctuation.]
     Finally, although students will probably have already noted it, it is worth pointing out how two verbs can share the same object -- "his men loved and obeyed him."