Home  »  The World’s Wit and Humor  »  The House-Builder

The World’s Wit and Humor: An Encyclopedia in 15 Volumes. 1906.

Ivan Khemnitser (1745–1784)

The House-Builder

From the “Fables”

A CERTAIN man a house would build.

The place is with materials filled,

And everything is ready there;

Is it a difficult affair?

Yes, till you fix the corner-stone;

It won’t erect itself alone.

Day rolls on day, and year on year,

And nothing yet is done;

There’s always something to delay

The business to another day.

And thus in silent waiting stood

The heaps of stone and piles of wood,

Till Death—who in his vast affairs

Ne’er puts things off (as men in theirs),

And thus, if I the truth must tell,

Does his work finally and well—

Winked at our hero as he passed:

“Your house is finished, sir, at last—

A narrower house, a house of clay,

Your palace for another day!”