Verspers

August 21,1920 Christopher Robin Milne was born, an only child to A. A. Milne. Christopher also wrote, his first two books, “Enchanted Places” and “The Path Through the Trees,“. being memoirs of his growing up and out from under the shadow of the fictional Christopher Robin. The first of these, written after both parents had died, has partly the tone of setting-the-record-straight, partly that of settling-the-score. Each day of writing, Milne said, was “like a session on the analyst’s couch” in an effort to look both his father and Christopher Robin in the eye.

Christopher Milne’s surest love in his first decade was for his Nanny, and for the fields, wood and river of the family’s weekend Sussex retreat. His feeling was that he was but “a part-time hobby” to his parents and that, had he suddenly disappeared, “I would certainly not have missed my father.” Amid the general resentment at parental neglect and exploitation, Milne singles out as being particularly rankling his father’s first, famous Christopher Robin poem, “Vespers” (When We Were Very Young, 1924):

“Little Boy kneels at the foot of the bed,
Droops on the little hands little gold head.
Hush! Hush! Whisper who dares!
Christopher Robin is saying his prayers.

God bless Mummy. I know that’s right.
Wasn’t it fun in the bath to-night?
The cold’s so cold, and the hot’s so hot.
Oh! God bless Daddy – I quite forgot.

If I open my fingers a little bit more,
I can see Nanny’s dressing-gown on the door.
It’s a beautiful blue, but it hasn’t a hood.
Oh! God bless Nanny and make her good….”

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