House That Jack Built, The
DESCRIPTION: Jack built his house." "This is the malt that lay in the house that Jack built" "This is the sack that held the malt that lay in the house that Jack built" ....
EARLIEST DATE: 1780 (J. Marshall, according to Opie/Opie-OxfordDictionaryOfNurseryRhymes)
LONG DESCRIPTION: "Jack built his house" The master of hounds chases the fox that killed the cock that woke the priest that married the man that married the maiden that milked the cow that tossed the dog 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.
KEYWORDS: cumulative nonballad marriage farming animal clergy home
FOUND IN: Britain(England(South))
REFERENCES (5 citations):
Opie/Opie-OxfordDictionaryOfNurseryRhymes 258, "This is the house that Jack built" (1 text)
Baring-Gould-AnnotatedMotherGoose #30, pp. 44-45, "(This is the house that Jack built)"
Jack-PopGoesTheWeasel, p. 77, "The House That Jack Built" (1 text)
Dolby-OrangesAndLemons, p. 39, "This Is the House That Jack Built" (1 text)
ADDITIONAL: Katherine Briggs, _A Dictionary of British Folk-Tales in the English Language_, Part A: Folk Narratives, 1970 (I use the 1971 Routledge paperback that combines volumes A.1 and A.2), volume A.2, pp. 535-537, "The House That Jack Built" (1 text)
Charlie Wills, "The House That Jack Built" (on Voice18)
NOTES [186 words]: The Opies believe that this has been parodied more than any other nursery poem/song. They note parallels or translations into other languages -- apparently Danish, French, and German.
Halliwell, according to Briggs, found analogies going back all the way to a Hebrew rhyme, but Briggs admits this is strained.
Katherine Elwes Thomas, The Real Personages of Mother Goose, Lothrop, Lee & Shepard Co., 1930, pp, 59-60, connects this (as well as "Jack Be Nimble") with the Jack Horner of "Little Jack Horner," fame, whom she contends made off with a property deed in the time of Henry VIII (see "Little Jack Horner" for this possibility). Given that the only connection between the two appears to be the word "Jack," this must be regarded as dubious. Nonetheless, Thomas goes on (p. 62) to conclude that the "man all tattered and torn" and the "priest all shaven and shorn" is John Still, Bishop of Bath and Wells from 1593, who married Jack Horner's niece Joan and died in 1608. How a man born just four years before the end of the reign of Henry VIII could have been involved in Jack Horner's career escapes me. - RBW
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