Verse > Anthologies > The World’s Best Poetry > Vol. IX. Tragedy: Humor
Bliss Carman, et al., eds.  The World’s Best Poetry.
Volume IX. Tragedy: Humor.  1904.
Humorous Poems: III. Parodies: Imitations
The Modern House That Jack Built
BEHOLD the mansion reared by dædal Jack.
See the malt, stored in many a plethoric sack,
In the proud cirque of Ivan’s bivouac.
Mark how the rat’s felonious fangs invade
The golden stores in John’s pavilion laid.        5
Anon, with velvet foot and Tarquin strides,
Subtle grimalkin to his quarry glides,—
Grimalkin grim, that slew the fierce rodent
Whose tooth insidious Johann’s sackcloth rent.
Lo! now the deep-mouthed canine foe’s assault,        10
That vexed the avenger of the stolen malt;
Stored in the hallowed precincts of the hall
That rose complete at Jack’s creative call.
Here stalks the impetuous cow, with the crumpled horn,
Whereon the exacerbating hound was torn,        15
Who bayed the feline slaughter-beast, that slew
The rat predaceous, whose keen fangs ran through
The textile fibres that involved the grain
That lay in Hans’ inviolate domain.
Here walks forlorn the damsel crowned with rue,        20
Lactiferous spoils from vaccine dugs who drew,
Of that corniculate beast whose tortuous horn
Tossed to the clouds, in fierce vindictive scorn,
The harrowing hound, whose braggart bark and stir
Arched the lithe spine and reared the indignant fur        25
Of puss, that with verminicidal claw
Struck the weird rat, in whose insatiate maw
Lay reeking malt, that erst in Ivan’s courts we saw.
Robed in senescent garb, that seemed, in sooth,
Too long a prey to Chronos’ iron tooth,        30
Behold the man whose amorous lips incline,
Full with young Eros’ osculative sign,
To the lorn maiden, whose lac-albic hands
Drew albu-lactic wealth from lacteal glands
Of the immortal bovine, by whose horn,        35
Distort, to realm ethereal was borne
The beast catulean, vexer of that sly
Ulysses quadrupedal who made die
The old mordacious rat, that dared devour
Antecedaneous ale in John’s domestic bower.        40
Lo! here, with hirsute honors doffed, succinct
Of saponaceous locks, the priest who linked
In Hymen’s golden bands the torn unthrift,
Whose means exiguous stared from many a rift,
Even as he kissed the virgin all forlorn,        45
Who milked the cow with the implicated horn,
Who in fine wrath the canine torturer skied,
That dared to vex the insidious muricide,
Who let auroral effluence through the pelt
Of the sly rat that robbed the palace Jack had built.        50
The loud cantankerous Shanghai comes at last,
Whose shouts aroused the shorn ecclesiast,
Who sealed the vows of Hymen’s sacrament
To him who, robed in garments indigent,
Exosculates the damsel lachrymose,        55
The emulgator of that hornèd brute morose
That tossed the dog that worried the cat that kilt
The rat that ate the malt that lay in the house that Jack built.

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