The House That Jack Built
Nursery Rhyme from Mother Goose


Interior page and cover from Randolph Caldecott's 'The House that Jack Built.'

Very fun version!



The House That Jack Built nursery rhyme

First appearance in print: 1755

Fact: Future U.S. President Thomas Jefferson used the phrase to argue against a broad interpretation of the U.S. Constitution.

Vocabulary

  • malt, a grain that is allowed to sprout
  • forlorn, very sad
The House That Jack Built

This is the house that Jack built.
This is the malt
That lay in the house that Jack built.

This is the rat,
That ate the malt
That lay in the house that Jack built.

This is the cat,
That killed the rat,
That ate the malt
That lay in the house that Jack built.

This is the dog,
That worried the cat,
That killed the rat,
That ate the malt
That lay in the house that Jack built.

This is the cow with the crumpled horn,
That tossed the dog,
That worried the cat,
That killed the rat,
That ate the malt
That lay in the house that Jack built.

This is the maiden all forlorn,
That milked the cow with the crumpled horn,
That tossed the dog,
That worried the cat,
That killed the rat,
That ate the malt
That lay in the house that Jack built.

This is the man all tattered and torn,
That kissed the maiden all forlorn,
That milked the cow with the crumpled horn,
That tossed the dog,
That worried the cat,
That killed the rat,
That ate the malt
That lay in the house that Jack built.

This is the priest all shaven and shorn,
That married the man all tattered and torn,
That kissed the maiden all forlorn,
That milked the cow with the crumpled horn,
That tossed the dog,
That worried the cat,
That killed the rat,
That ate the malt
That lay in the house that Jack built.

This is the cock that crowed in the morn,
That waked the priest all shaven and shorn,
That married the man all tattered and torn,
That kissed the maiden all forlorn,
That milked the cow with the crumpled horn,
That tossed the dog,
That worried the cat,
That killed the rat,
That ate the malt
That lay in the house that Jack built.

This is the farmer sowing the corn,
That kept the cock that crowed in the morn.
That waked the priest all shaven and shorn,
That married the man all tattered and torn,
That kissed the maiden all forlorn,
That milked the cow with the crumpled horn,
That tossed the dog,
That worried the cat,
That killed the rat,
That ate the malt
That lay in the house that Jack built.

The House That Jack Built nursery rhyme appears in Blanche Fisher Wright's classic The Real Mother Goose collection.

Want to read a lovely story about Jack? In 1904, Annie Fellows Johnston published The Quilt that Jack Built, about a little boy who took to quiltmaking to help his family through hard times. Here's a verse that captures the boy's older brother making fun of him:

This is the patchwork all forlorn,
Made by the boys in Marshall's barn.
The dog and the cat and even the rat
Had a hand in that— A hand in the Quilt that Jack built!

More Mother Goose nursery rhymes.

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