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The House That Jack Built

[ Roud 12921 , 20584 ; Ballad Index RcTHTJBu ; trad.]

Valentine Dyall and children of Brittania Row sang The House That Jack Built in 1982 on the video 70 Golden Nursery Rhymes.

Charlie Wills of Pothills, Ryall, Dorset sang The House That Jack Built in his home in January 1971 to Bill Leader and Robin Teague. This recording was included in 1998 on the Topic anthology To Catch a Fine Buck Was My Delight (The Voice of the People Volume 18).

John Kirkpatrick sang The House That Jack Built in 2017 on his Fledg'ling CD Coat-Tails Flying. He commented in his liner notes:

We're all familiar with this nursery rhyme as a tongue twister and memory test. It's been massively popular, and very frequently parodied, ever since it first appeared in print in the 1750s. But you don't often hear it sung, and in fact the only performance of it as a song that I've come across is that on the Topic Records CD To Catch a Fine Buck Was My Delight, first issued in 1998. The Dorset singer Charlie Wills, recorded at home in 1971, grinds into action very slowly, seems to be making it up as he goes along, and at times sounds as though he's frankly losing interest altogether. But there's enough of a tune there to give us a clue, and what you hear on this recording is based on what appears to be happening in his more lucid moments. I've changed the last couple of lines that Charlie sang to fit in with more widely known versions, and had the temerity to add a new final verse.

Lyrics

Charlie Wills sings The House That Jack Built

In the merry month of May,
All on a summer's day in the merry month of May,
Jack built his house
All on a summer's day in the merry month of May.

This is the malt that lay in the house that Jack built
All on a summer's day in the merry month of May.

This is the sack that held the malt that lay in the house that Jack built
All on a summer's day in the merry month of May.

This is the string that tied the sack that held the malt that lay in the house that Jack built
All on a summer's day in the merry month of May.

This is the rat that gnawed the string that tied the sack that held the malt that lay in the house that Jack built
All on a summer's day in the merry month of May.

This is the cat that killed the rat that gnawed the string that tied the sack that held the malt that lay in the house that Jack built
All on a summer's day in the merry month of May.

This is the dog that worried the cat that killed the rat that gnawed the string that tied the sack that held the malt that lay in the house that Jack built
All on a summer's day in the merry month of May.

This is the cow with the crumpled horn that tossed the dog that worried the cat that killed the rat that gnawed the string that tied the sack that held the malt that lay in the house that Jack built
All on a summer's day in the merry month of May.

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 gnawed the string that tied the sack that held the malt that lay in the house that Jack built
All on a summer's day in the merry month of May.

This is the man all tattered and torn that married 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 gnawed the string that tied the sack that held the malt that lay in the house that Jack built
All on a summer's day in the merry month of May.

This is the priest all shriven and shorn that married the man all tattered and torn to 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 gnawed the string that tied the sack that held the malt that lay in the house that Jack built
All on a summer's day in the merry month of May.

This is the cock that crowed in the morn that woke the priest all shriven and shorn that married the man all tattered and torn to 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 gnawed the string that tied the sack that held the malt that lay in the house that Jack built
All on a summer's day in the merry month of May.

This is the hounds that chased he fox that killed the cock that crowed in the morn that woke the priest all shriven and shorn that married the man all tattered and torn to 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 gnawed the string that tied the sack that held the malt that lay in the house that Jack built
All on a summer's day in the merry month of May.

This is the master of the hounds that chased he fox that killed the cock that crowed in the morn that woke the priest all shriven and shorn that married the man all tattered and torn to 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 gnawed the string that tied the sack that held the malt that lay in the house that Jack built
All on a summer's day in the merry month of May.

John Kirkpatrick sings The House That Jack Built

Jack built a house
All on a summer's day in the merry month of May,
All on a summer's day in the merry month of May.

And this was the house that Jack built
All on a summer's day in the merry month of May.

This is the malt that lay in the house that Jack built
All on a summer's day in the merry month of May.

This is the sack that held the malt that lay in the house that Jack built
All on a summer's day in the merry month of May.

This is the string that tied the sack that held the malt that lay in the house that Jack built
All on a summer's day in the merry month of May.

This is the rat that gnawed the string that tied the sack that held the malt that lay in the house that Jack built
All on a summer's day in the merry month of May.

This is the cat that killed the rat that gnawed the string that tied the sack that held the malt that lay in the house that Jack built
All on a summer's day in the merry month of May.

This is the dog that worried the cat that killed the rat that gnawed the string that tied the sack that held the malt that lay in the house that Jack built
All on a summer's day in the merry month of May.

This is the cow with the crumpled horn that tossed the dog that worried the cat that killed the rat that gnawed the string that tied the sack that held the malt that lay in the house that Jack built
All on a summer's day in the merry month of May.

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 gnawed the string that tied the sack that held the malt that lay in the house that Jack built
All on a summer's day in the merry month of May.

This is the man all tattered and torn that married 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 gnawed the string that tied the sack that held the malt that lay in the house that Jack built
All on a summer's day in the merry month of May.

This is the priest all shriven and shown that married the man all tattered and torn to 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 gnawed the string that tied the sack that held the malt that lay in the house that Jack built
All on a summer's day in the merry month of May.

This is the cock that crowed in the morn that woke the priest all shriven and shorn that married the man all tattered and torn to 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 gnawed the string that tied the sack that held the malt that lay in the house that Jack built
All on a summer's day in the merry month of May.

This is the farmer sowing his corn that kept the cock that crowed in the morn that woke the priest all shriven and shorn that married the man all tattered and torn to 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 gnawed the string that tied the sack that held the malt that lay in the house that Jack built
All on a summer's day in the merry month of May.

This is the sun bringing in the dawn that shone on the farmer sowing his corn that kept the cock that crowed in the morn that woke the priest all shriven and shorn that married the man all tattered and torn to 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 gnawed the string that tied the sack that held the malt that lay in the house that Jack built
All on a summer's day in the merry month of May.

And this was the house that Jack built
All on a summer's day in the merry month of May.