Weatherby George Dupree
Care of his Mother
Though he was only three.
Said to his Mother,
“Mother,” he said, said he;
“You must never go down to the end of the town, if you don't go down with me.”
Your Humble Blogger was reminded today of A. A. Milne’s marvelous poem Disobedience. The wonderful rhythms just floated into my head, as they sometimes do. It was one of my favorites as a child—I actually liked the poetry more than the Winnie-the-Pooh stories, when I was small. The story of James James Morrison Morrison Weatherby George Dupree and his disobedient mother always struck me as hilarious, in addition to the simple joy of chanting the name.
Put on a golden gown,
Drove to the end of the town.
Said to herself, said she:
“I can get right down to the end of the town and be back in time for tea.”
Much later in my life—a generation later, not to put too fine a point on it—I developed a real sympathy for Mrs. Dupree. There are times, you know, when a parent just wants to go to the end of the town without her or his beloved offspring. I mean, I love my children, as I am sure Mrs. Dupree loved James James, but my Lord when you have a child you have a child every day.
Put up a notice,
“LOST or STOLEN or STRAYED!
SEEMS TO HAVE BEEN MISLAID.
QUITE OF HER OWN ACCORD,
SHE TRIED TO GET DOWN TO THE END OF
THE TOWN - FORTY SHILLINGS REWARD!”
Wandering vaguely, quite of one’s own accord, sounds lovely, doesn’t it? Irresponsible and fancy-free, looking into the windows of the shops that are right at the end of the town. Maybe sitting in a little café and eating a pastry and sipping a nice cup of tea.
I miss eating a pastry and drinking tea in a little café.
(Commonly known as Jim)
Not to go blaming him.
Said to his Mother,
“Mother,” he said, said he,
“You must never go down to the end of the town without consulting me.”
I never did go down to the end of the town without consulting my progeny, of course. I fantasized about disobedience, but I didn’t really want to be irresponsible.
I haven’t sat in a café for a year, either.
Hasn't been heard of since.
Said he was sorry,
So did the Queen and Prince.
(Somebody told me)
Said to a man he knew:
“If people go down to the end of the town, well, what can anyone do?”
I still feel a lot of sympathy for Jim’s Mom. She shouldn’t have gone, obviously, but I can’t seem to judge her harshly. And yet, for the first time ever, I find myself sympathizing with King John in this poem. If people go down to the end of the town—not wearing masks and maintaining distance in indoor places like cafés, not waiting just another few weeks for a vaccination for crying out loud—well, what can anyone do?
(Now then, very softly)
W. G. du P.
C/o his M*****
Though he was only 3.
Said to his M*****
“M*****,” he said, said he:
“You-must-never-go-down-to-the-end-of-the-town-if- you-don't-go-down-with ME!”
Tolerabimus quod tolerare debemus,