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Pop Goes the Weasel - Meaning?

DigiTrad:
A RIPPING TRIP
LONG AND THIN
POP GOES THE WEASEL
POP GOES THE WEASEL (2)
SARAH JANE.


Related threads:
Pop Goes the Weasel (37)
Pop Goes The Weasel (13)


Mark Cohen 15 Mar 00 - 12:10 AM
The Shambles 15 Mar 00 - 02:21 AM
M. Ted (inactive) 15 Mar 00 - 02:29 AM
John in Brisbane 15 Mar 00 - 02:34 AM
M. Ted (inactive) 15 Mar 00 - 02:40 AM
Jon Freeman 15 Mar 00 - 02:48 AM
M. Ted (inactive) 15 Mar 00 - 02:58 AM
Tony in Darwin 15 Mar 00 - 03:42 AM
Tony in Darwin 15 Mar 00 - 03:47 AM
Skipjack K8 15 Mar 00 - 04:32 AM
Bill in Alabama 15 Mar 00 - 05:43 AM
Hyperabid 15 Mar 00 - 06:16 AM
The Shambles 15 Mar 00 - 09:18 AM
wysiwyg 15 Mar 00 - 09:22 AM
The Shambles 15 Mar 00 - 09:22 AM
Tony in Darwin 15 Mar 00 - 09:25 AM
Gary T 15 Mar 00 - 10:30 AM
Skipjack K8 15 Mar 00 - 10:30 AM
Uncle_DaveO 15 Mar 00 - 11:27 AM
wildlone 15 Mar 00 - 04:14 PM
GUEST,Petr 15 Mar 00 - 04:25 PM
Sandy Paton 15 Mar 00 - 04:59 PM
Mark Cohen 15 Mar 00 - 10:29 PM
The Shambles 16 Mar 00 - 01:59 AM
Dani 16 Mar 00 - 09:07 AM
Hyperabid 16 Mar 00 - 09:16 AM
Gary T 16 Mar 00 - 09:42 AM
Lady McMoo 16 Mar 00 - 10:30 AM
Amos 16 Mar 00 - 10:45 AM
GUEST,Second Banana 16 Mar 00 - 11:29 AM
GUEST,Second Banana 16 Mar 00 - 11:30 AM
GUEST,Second Banana 16 Mar 00 - 11:36 AM
M. Ted (inactive) 16 Mar 00 - 11:44 AM
Jacob B 16 Mar 00 - 12:12 PM
GUEST,Barry Finn 16 Mar 00 - 01:06 PM
Mark Cohen 16 Mar 00 - 05:50 PM
fox4zero 16 Mar 00 - 06:14 PM
Art Thieme 16 Mar 00 - 08:59 PM
Mark Cohen 16 Mar 00 - 09:21 PM
GUEST 16 Mar 00 - 10:00 PM
Malcolm Douglas 16 Mar 00 - 10:03 PM
Art Thieme 17 Mar 00 - 09:37 AM
GUEST,ardie@bwn.net 17 Mar 00 - 12:58 PM
McGrath of Harlow 17 Mar 00 - 03:53 PM
Mark Cohen 17 Mar 00 - 05:24 PM
GUEST,Q 12 Mar 03 - 09:48 PM
Mark Cohen 12 Mar 03 - 10:42 PM
GUEST,Q 12 Mar 03 - 11:48 PM
masato sakurai 13 Mar 03 - 05:53 AM
masato sakurai 13 Mar 03 - 05:55 AM
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Subject: Pop Goes the Weasel - Meaning?
From: Mark Cohen
Date: 15 Mar 00 - 12:10 AM

Here's an odd one that I'm sure some knowledgeable 'Catter can answer. Does anyone know the origin of the nursery song, "Pop Goes the Weasel?" My suspicion has always been that it has historical/political roots (probably from England), like "Sing a Song of Sixpence." Anybody?


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Subject: RE: Help: Pop Goes the Weasel - Meaning?
From: The Shambles
Date: 15 Mar 00 - 02:21 AM

Anthony Newley had hit in the 60s with a 'pop' song, called I think 'pop goes the weasel'. This song was a light-hearted explanation of the term. It was something to do with 'poping' or pawning your weasel (whistle and flute = suit?, on a Saturday night to buy liquor.


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Subject: RE: Help: Pop Goes the Weasel - Meaning?
From: M. Ted (inactive)
Date: 15 Mar 00 - 02:29 AM

Mark,

I rememeber an Anthony Newley recording where he explained that it was about the old time cobblers habit of pawning their accessories to buy liquor--if I remember the "weasel" was the accessories, the "easel" was the tavern, and "Pop, goes the weasel" meant that he had blown all the money--The "Half a pound of tupenny rice, half a pound of treacle" was sort of a grocery list--

I, of course, cxan not vouch for the truth of this, and it has been years since I heard it--but forgive me for giving in to the urge to post what I know, even when it isn't much--


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Subject: RE: Help: Pop Goes the Weasel - Meaning?
From: John in Brisbane
Date: 15 Mar 00 - 02:34 AM

MTed, never let the truth get in the way of a good story. Cheers, John


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Subject: RE: Help: Pop Goes the Weasel - Meaning?
From: M. Ted (inactive)
Date: 15 Mar 00 - 02:40 AM

John--that's how I feel, at least if it's my story-


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Subject: RE: Help: Pop Goes the Weasel - Meaning?
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 15 Mar 00 - 02:48 AM

I know pop can ean pawn (another song is Dicey Rieley)and can find that in y dictionary - can't find any definition of weasel that seems to make any sense at all - love M Teds version - maybe true but I thought it would have been in my dictionary.

Jon


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Subject: RE: Help: Pop Goes the Weasel - Meaning?
From: M. Ted (inactive)
Date: 15 Mar 00 - 02:58 AM

Of the lyrics on that record,
The ones that I remember are:

All around the cobbler's bench
The monkey chased the weasel
The monkey thought twas all in fun
Pop, goes the weasel.

Half a pound for tupenny rice,
Half a pound for treacle
That's the way the money goes,
Pop, goes the weasel

All around the streets of town
In and out of the easel
That's the way the money goes
Pop, goes the weasel.


It has been thirty years, probably, since I've heard it, so take it with a grain of salt--


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Subject: RE: Help: Pop Goes the Weasel - Meaning?
From: Tony in Darwin
Date: 15 Mar 00 - 03:42 AM

Up and down the City Road
In and out of the Eagle,
That's the way the money goes,
Pop goes the weasel!

Half a pound of tuppenny rice,
Half a pound of treacle,
Mix it up and make it nice,
Pop goes the weasel!

Every night when I go out
The monkey's on the table;
Take a stick and knock it off,
Pop goes the weasel!

from Denslow's Mother Goose: Being the Old Familiar Rhymes and Jingles of Mother Goose Edited and Illustrated by W.W.Denslow, New York: McClure, Phillips & Company, 1901

"The popular explanation of this music-hall-song-cum-nursery-rhyme is that the weasel is an implement used in the cobbler's trade. To pop was to pawn the weasel on a Friday night...in order to get the money to go Up and down the City Road and enjoy one's self at such public houses as the Eagle.

This excerpt from:
The Annotated Mother Goose, Nursery Rhymes Old and New,
arranged and explained by William S.Baring-Gould & Ceil Baring-Gould

Tony


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Subject: RE: Help: Pop Goes the Weasel - Meaning?
From: Tony in Darwin
Date: 15 Mar 00 - 03:47 AM

Sorry

Should have given the publishing details for the Baring-Gould tome

Bramhall House, New York, 1962


Tony


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Subject: RE: Help: Pop Goes the Weasel - Meaning?
From: Skipjack K8
Date: 15 Mar 00 - 04:32 AM

Tony, what generation do the Baring Gould's belong to?

My interest is that Sabine Baring Gould was the vicar of Mersea Island, in Essex, England, in the latter half of the 19th Century.

He was most famous for penning 'Onward Christian Soldiers', but revered locally as the author of 'Mehalah', a Victorian Melodrama, about a gypsy girl from the marshes fighting the amorous advances of a tyrannical landlord.

I hadn't, until your posting, been aware there were Baring Gould's still about.

Skipjack


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Subject: RE: Help: Pop Goes the Weasel - Meaning?
From: Bill in Alabama
Date: 15 Mar 00 - 05:43 AM

There was a thread on this same topic a couple of years back-- (http://www.mudcat.org/Detail.CFM?messages__Message_ID=15452)

Someday I'll remember how to make the blue clicky thing.

Bill


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Subject: RE: Help: Pop Goes the Weasel - Meaning?
From: Hyperabid
Date: 15 Mar 00 - 06:16 AM

I've drunk in the Eagle pub and the rhyme is pretty literal. It's just a folk tale of London.

Hyp


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Subject: RE: Help: Pop Goes the Weasel - Meaning?
From: The Shambles
Date: 15 Mar 00 - 09:18 AM

The Baring Gould Heritage Project Wren Trust


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Subject: RE: Help: Pop Goes the Weasel - Meaning?
From: wysiwyg
Date: 15 Mar 00 - 09:22 AM

You mean it's NOT a cautionary tale about flashers lurking in the mulberry bushes by the playground?


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Subject: RE: Help: Pop Goes the Weasel - Meaning?
From: The Shambles
Date: 15 Mar 00 - 09:22 AM

OOOps! Wren Trust


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Subject: RE: Help: Pop Goes the Weasel - Meaning?
From: Tony in Darwin
Date: 15 Mar 00 - 09:25 AM

Skipjack K8, until this thread came up I didn't realise the "Baring-Gould Nursery Rhyme" book on my bookshelf was by a B-G other than the famous Sabine. The best I can do is to quote the back flap of the dust-jacket

"A 200-year-old farmhouse fifty miles north of New York City is now the home of Bill and Ceil Baring-Gould, both one-time Midwesterners. He has been, for the past 25 years, an executive of Time Inc., magazine and book publishers. She is active in community life, particularly education and government. The Baring-Goulds' interest in the lore of children's literature stems from the writings of Mr. Baring-Gould's grandfather, the Reverend Sabine Baring-Gould. Both avid readers since childhood, the Baring-Goulds recently had to add a wing to their home to house their library which includes a rich collection of children's literature, kept up-to-date by additions from the books cherished by their own two children, Judith, now 19, and young Bill, now 15.
Mr. Baring-Gould's first book, 'Sherlock Holmes of Baker Street, A Life of the World's First Consulting Detective', was published in April, 1962"

Bear in mind that this book was published in 1962, so Judith and young Bill are now aged about 57 and 53, respectively.

None of this takes us any closer to answering Mark's original question, though. I tended to go along with Hyperabid...it's not a political song, just a folk-tale of London.

But wait!!!

Another book just fell off the shelf.
("Origins of Rhymes, Songs and Sayings", Jean Harrowven, Kaye & Ward, London, 1977. p273)

'The Song 'Pop Goes the Weasel' was written in the 1830s by Charles Sloman and sung by him in such places of ill-repute as the Cyder Cellars and the Coal Hole. His version does not contain the words that are so familiar to us today. There were six verses in the original song, all in the same vein as the first:
Something new starts every day,
Pop goes the Weasel,
Fashion ever changes sway,
Pop goes the Weasel.
As one comes in another goes out,
Pop goes the Weasel.
The newest one, there is no doubt, is
Pop goes the Weasel.
The lyrics comment on the changing fashion of catchphrases and "pop goes the weasel" was a saying at the time. The "weasel" was a tailor's "goose" or heavy iron, a commodity which could easily be pawned. Another explanation of this rhyme was suggested by Arthur Moore, who says he had always understood that the Eagle tavern had been a betting shop, where money was lost and poachers pawned their weasels to pay their debts.
James Robinson Planché used the verse that we know today in his revue 'The Haymarket Spring Meeting' and adapted it to the Eagle tavern, where it was first produced.'

More on the Eagle (from the same source, p272):
'The Eagle tavern replaced the gardens of the Shepherd and Shepherdess when the City Road was built in the East End of London in 1825. The new proprietor was a man called Rouse, commonly known as "Bravo Rouse". He was an adventurous man, who provided new entertainment to attract his customers. He arranged balloon ascents, built the Russian Mountain made of scenic model railways, and in 1831 converted the ornaments used at the coronation of William IV into a large ornamental entrance to his pleasure gardens. He extended the Eagle tavern and the site was then called Royal Eagle Coronation Pleasure Grounds.'
[I can just see that on the destination board of the Number 3 bus!]
'In 1832 he built the Grecian saloon and provided dancing and entertainment within its walls, thus extending the Eagle even more. Later the saloon became the Grecian Theatre, but did not thrive as such and, in 1882, it was taken over by the Salvation Army. Until its demolition at the turn of the century, the Grecian Theatre could easily be distinguished by the two stone eagles set on pillars on each side of the entrance.'

I keep finding more stuff! I'll start a separate thread on Rev. Sabine Baring-Gould.


Tomorrow!

Tony


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Subject: RE: Help: Pop Goes the Weasel - Meaning?
From: Gary T
Date: 15 Mar 00 - 10:30 AM

If I remember right, the explanation I read described a "weasel" as one's work kit. The contents would vary depending upon the trade you were in. Naturally, one would be somewhat reluctant to pawn this, but then again, it was usually the only pawnable thing a poor tradesman had. So, when times get tight and you need money now to eat, "Pop goes the weasel".


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Subject: RE: Help: Pop Goes the Weasel - Meaning?
From: Skipjack K8
Date: 15 Mar 00 - 10:30 AM

Thanks, Tony and Mr Shambles, good on yer. Looking forward to the SBG thread.

Skipjack (who lies at anchor a league from the Ray, the centre of SBG's masterpeice)


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Subject: RE: Help: Pop Goes the Weasel - Meaning?
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 15 Mar 00 - 11:27 AM

I tend to think Gary T has it right. Somewhere I had read that "the weasel" was a sign-painter's tool kit. There have been enough variants proposed here that I believe it was more general, a tradesman's tool kit, of whatever trade.

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: Help: Pop Goes the Weasel - Meaning?
From: wildlone
Date: 15 Mar 00 - 04:14 PM

As I have heard it a "weasel" is a heavy iron used for the pressing of material usually rectangular,in the days before electric irons it would be heated in front of a fire.


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Subject: RE: Help: Pop Goes the Weasel - Meaning?
From: GUEST,Petr
Date: 15 Mar 00 - 04:25 PM

The version I heard is that the weasel is an awl. City Road is a thoroughfare in London Eagle is a pub And pop is to pawn. At any rate it is a cautionary song, about drinking too much, getting into debt and having to pawn ones tools thereby losing any means to support oneself. Petr.


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Subject: RE: Help: Pop Goes the Weasel - Meaning?
From: Sandy Paton
Date: 15 Mar 00 - 04:59 PM

Caroline always thought "weasel" was rhyming slang for "weasel and stoat" = coat. Just a guess, but the assumed meaning is the same -- going "in and out the Eagle" causes the poor chap to spend all of his money and requires him to "pop" (pawn) his coat to buy more booze. Whether coat or flat-iron, awl or paint-box, the message is the same. Sandy


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Subject: RE: Help: Pop Goes the Weasel - Meaning?
From: Mark Cohen
Date: 15 Mar 00 - 10:29 PM

Thanks, everybody. I knew you'd come through. This has been a thoroughly enjoyable thread to read through.

I actually never heard the part about the Eagle. The way I learned the song was:

All around the cobbler's bench
The monkey chased the weasel
The monkey thought 'twas all in fun
Pop! goes the weasel

A penny for a spool of thread
A penny for a needle
That's the way the money goes
Pop! goes the weasel

So the pawning story makes sense. I would imagine that the monkey was added later by someone who didn't know that this particular "weasel" was not an animal.

Aloha,
Mark


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Subject: RE: Help: Pop Goes the Weasel - Meaning?
From: The Shambles
Date: 16 Mar 00 - 01:59 AM

Well 'a monkey' is a term still used in London, for a certain sum of money. There are other examples but I can't think of any at the moment.


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Subject: RE: Help: Pop Goes the Weasel - Meaning?
From: Dani
Date: 16 Mar 00 - 09:07 AM

Neither have I mastered BCT's, but you can paste this in to see the last discussion:

http://www.mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=3183&messages=17#15480

Dani


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Subject: RE: Help: Pop Goes the Weasel - Meaning?
From: Hyperabid
Date: 16 Mar 00 - 09:16 AM

Shambles

Monkey Pony and Ton are the common usages

A ton is £100

Cant remeber Monkey and Pony not being a real Eastender.

Hyp


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Subject: RE: Help: Pop Goes the Weasel - Meaning?
From: Gary T
Date: 16 Mar 00 - 09:42 AM

I quote from "The American Song Treasury: 100 Favorites", written/edited by Theodore Ralph, published by Dover Publications, Mineola, N.Y.

"'Pop Goes the Weasel' did originate in England centuries ago...[it] was quite popular...during the exodus of Pilgrims to America (1620-1640)."

"The song's title has nothing go do with a small explosion or an animal. The word 'pop' is British slang meaning to 'pawn' something, and 'weasel' was British slang meaning 'the tools of one's trade.' If a person were a tailor his weasel would be scissors, needles, thimble and tape measure, or a carpenter's weasel would be his saw, hammer, plane, and square. Therefore, the expression 'pop goes the weases' simply means one's money is gone and something will have to be pawned."

Assuming this to be correct, it appears that "pop" meaning "pawn" has survived to some degree, but "weasel" meaning "tools of one's trade" faded from use some time ago.


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Subject: RE: Help: Pop Goes the Weasel - Meaning?
From: Lady McMoo
Date: 16 Mar 00 - 10:30 AM

Well...I grew up in the East End of London and although time has dimmed the brain cells... here goes!

A monkey is £500.

Another meaning in CRS for monkey is "wench" (monkey wrench) which makes much more sense to me in the context of this rhyme. Especially as later in the song we see the "stick" (= well... obvious!) "knocking off" (having sex with) the monkey.

Since the rhyme is about being broke, the various activities of the perpetrator cause him to have to "pop his weasel" (i.e. pawn his coat (weasel and stoat)).

Treacle = treacle tart (sweetheart) and I would hazard a guess that "tuppenny rice" = dice (= gambling) i.e. another way of losing money.

The City Road is a real street in London and The Eagle was a famous pub as described by others above.

Hope this helps a bit.

All the best

mcmoo


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Subject: RE: Help: Pop Goes the Weasel - Meaning?
From: Amos
Date: 16 Mar 00 - 10:45 AM

I had always heard it was a protest song about cost of living and politics, and that the weasel was the pocketbook, the monkey being the politician who pursued the citizens' weasel by raising taxes. Opening the pocketbook = pop goes the weasel.

I believe I read an explanation like this long ago, in some erudite tome, but I have not the vaguest idea where. Pop that in your weasel and smoke it ! ">)


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Subject: RE: Help: Pop Goes the Weasel - Meaning?
From: GUEST,Second Banana
Date: 16 Mar 00 - 11:29 AM

I have no idea about the origin on the tune, however.

My father was an old-time fiddler, and he used the number to showcase trick fiddling. He played it in G, and while he plunked the open e and a strings on the words, "pop goes," he used the time to move the instrument to other positions. He put it under his left leg, right leg, both legs,and he held it facing the audience propped on his left leg. He held the bow between his knees and moved the instrument. For a finale he played a verse with the fiddle on top of his head.

Has anyone ever seen this anywhere else? It would be interesting to know where he got the idea. He was born in 1886 and knew hundreds of tunes when he died in 1947.


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Subject: RE: Help: Pop Goes the Weasel - Meaning?
From: GUEST,Second Banana
Date: 16 Mar 00 - 11:30 AM

I have no idea about the origin on the tune, however.

My father was an old-time fiddler, and he used the number to showcase trick fiddling. He played it in G, and while he plunked the open e and a strings on the words, "pop goes," he used the time to move the instrument to other positions. He put it under his left leg, right leg, both legs,and he held it facing the audience propped on his left leg. He held the bow between his knees and moved the instrument. For a finale he played a verse with the fiddle on top of his head.

Has anyone ever seen this anywhere else? It would be interesting to know where he got the idea. He was born in 1886 and knew hundreds of tunes when he died in 1947.


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Subject: RE: Help: Pop Goes the Weasel - Meaning?
From: GUEST,Second Banana
Date: 16 Mar 00 - 11:36 AM

I have no idea about the origin on the tune, however.

My father was an old-time fiddler, and he used the number to showcase trick fiddling. He played it in G, and while he plunked the open e and a strings on the words, "pop goes," he used the time to move the instrument to other positions. He put it under his left leg, right leg, both legs,and he held it facing the audience propped on his left leg. He held the bow between his knees and moved the instrument. For a finale he played a verse with the fiddle on top of his head.

Has anyone ever seen this anywhere else? It would be interesting to know where he got the idea. He was born in 1886 and knew hundreds of tunes when he died in 1947.


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Subject: RE: Help: Pop Goes the Weasel - Meaning?
From: M. Ted (inactive)
Date: 16 Mar 00 - 11:44 AM

I guess a good story is worth repeating--


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Subject: RE: Help: Pop Goes the Weasel - Meaning?
From: Jacob B
Date: 16 Mar 00 - 12:12 PM

Second Banana,

I saw Jim Seals (of Seals and Croft) do exactly the routine you describe your father as having done, on a TV special in the early 1970s (except that Croft played the "pop goes" notes on the mandolin while Seals moved his fiddle to a new location).


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Subject: RE: Help: Pop Goes the Weasel - Meaning?
From: GUEST,Barry Finn
Date: 16 Mar 00 - 01:06 PM

Dick Holstock (with either MacLeod or Murphey) do a song concerning steamship passage, I think from Panama to San Fancisco, with the same tune calling it, I think, "Rip Goes the Boiler". Barry


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Subject: RE: Help: Pop Goes the Weasel - Meaning?
From: Mark Cohen
Date: 16 Mar 00 - 05:50 PM

Great stuff! I like the idea of the monkey being money, and mcmoo, those rhyming slang references are excellent -- I wonder how often they pop up (sorry, no pun intended) in other traditional/children's songs with otherwise inexplicable lyrics.
Barry, I'll be seeing Dick next week in Oregon and will be sure to ask him for that song.

Aloha,
Mark


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Subject: RE: Help: Pop Goes the Weasel - Meaning?
From: fox4zero
Date: 16 Mar 00 - 06:14 PM

If anyone gives a hoot, I met Ceil Baring-Gould about 15 or more years ago. She was a real estate agent for a house and land that I looked at in Pound Ridge, NY. She had written an Annotated Alice, Annotated Mother Goose and dtto for Sherlock Holmes. I couldn't afford the property.

I seem to remember that either the monkey OR the Weasel was an apprentice. Luv, Larry Parish


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Subject: RE: Help: Pop Goes the Weasel - Meaning?
From: Art Thieme
Date: 16 Mar 00 - 08:59 PM

My old uncle told me when I was about 4 years old that the song was used, in ancient times, to instruct wee ones about procreation. I.E. the birds and the bees and the weasels. It was about what happens physically when virginity is lost.

Art


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Subject: RE: Help: Pop Goes the Weasel - Meaning?
From: Mark Cohen
Date: 16 Mar 00 - 09:21 PM

I thought that was a cherry, Art, not a weasel. Or am I missing something?


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Subject: RE: Help: Pop Goes the Weasel - Meaning?
From: GUEST
Date: 16 Mar 00 - 10:00 PM

I never lost my virginity, I just mislaid it.


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Subject: RE: Help: Pop Goes the Weasel - Meaning?
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 16 Mar 00 - 10:03 PM

I've really enjoyed following this thread.  This last bit has certainly puzzled me, though: weasels have never figured significantly in sex education in the UK.  I suppose that the POP! is what Art was talking about?

Malcolm


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Subject: RE: Help: Pop Goes the Weasel - Meaning?
From: Art Thieme
Date: 17 Mar 00 - 09:37 AM

Not me ! My uncle.

Art


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Subject: RE: Help: Pop Goes the Weasel - Meaning?
From: GUEST,ardie@bwn.net
Date: 17 Mar 00 - 12:58 PM

Every night when I get home the monkey's on the table. take a stick and knock it off pop goes the weasel.

I believe this phrase is still around today. The proverbial monkey on your back, which means habit. The habit can be drinking, gambling or drugs. If the monkey is on the table, that means he's on the wagon. Take a stick (reefer?) (gaming stick as in dice or slide the score keepers in a pool or darts game?) and knock it off (fall off the wagon?) and when you lose you have to pawn your kit (weasel) pop goes the weasel.

A song of bad habits and addictions that cost money. In a culture of hard work and hard play, that's the way the money goes.


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Subject: RE: Help: Pop Goes the Weasel - Meaning?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 17 Mar 00 - 03:53 PM

I suppose it might be weasel and ferret - cherry. An imperfect rhyme I grant you, but there are worse.

On the other hand, I'd have thought cherry could well be rhyming slang itself, though I hesitate to speculate further.


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Subject: RE: Help: Pop Goes the Weasel - Meaning?
From: Mark Cohen
Date: 17 Mar 00 - 05:24 PM

Your pop is your uncle, Art? Gotta watch that inbreeding, you know...


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Subject: Lyr Add: POP GOES THE WEASEL (from Bodleian)
From: GUEST,Q
Date: 12 Mar 03 - 09:48 PM

Odd how people want to make a children's song out of an old song about intercourse. All they do is mess up a nice old 18th century dirty ditty.
Apparently no one has looked in the Bodleian Collection. Several versions, none really unprintable, but all clear in meaning. Randolph has a couple of American unprintable versions in "Blow the Candle Out."

POP GOES THE WEASEL

Now all the girls are going mad,
For- Pop goes the Weasel!
And the finest tune we ever had,
Is- Pop goes the Weasel!
It is danced by Albert and the Queen,
Chummies done it round the green,
And many girls have ruined been,
By Pop goes the Weasel!

Organ boys grind in the street,
Pop goes the Weasel!
The thing to make you feel your feet,
Is, Pop goes the Weasel!
It costs the young chaps such a lot,
To treat the girls to you know wot,
The Militiamen march and trot,
Pop goes the Weasel!

The costermonger beats his moke,
To Pop goes the Weasel!
And the donkey jumps at every poke,
Pop goes the Weasel!
Quack doctors send out lots of pills,
And get the cash out of the gills,
Because they always head their bills,
Pop goes the Weasel!

At Drury Lane, they and sing (sic! all?),
Pop goes the Weasel!
Barbers thinking of cut your chin,
Pop goes the Weasel!
The tallyman I must confess
Leave on credit many a dress,
But when they call for cash, I guess,
Pop goes the Weasel!

In the Laughing Gas the ladies say,
Pop goes the Weasel!
And many girls are led astray,
By Pop goes the Weasel!
To hear it played some thousands hop,
Last week a mad bull made a stop,
Then ran into a music shop,
For Pop goes the Weasel!

Policemen teach each girl on their beat,
Pop goes the Weasel!
For which they get all the cold meat,
And Pop goes the Weasel!
The grinder in the street each day,
Knives for ladies grind away,
And the wheel when turning seems to say
Pop goes the Weasel!

Bugs and fleas nightly hop,
Pop goes the Weasel!
Thousands on their uncle pop,
Through, Pop goes the Weasel!
The lower class as well as high,
To beat each other daily fly,
While others private, nightly try,
Pop goes the Weasel!

Now all the world, yes even France,
Likes Pop goes the Weasel!
But we can make the Frenchmen dance,
Pop goes the Weasel!
Pop goes the Weasel, gives delight
And by your smiles I think I'm right,
If so I'll try another night,
Pop goes the Weasel!

Evans, printer, London. Firth b.25(206). 1780-1812.
Date obviously wrong; more like 1840-1850. Apparently some older lines remain (reference to French). There is good evidence of the song in the late 18th century, and it may be much earlier. Olson may have something.


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Subject: RE: Help: Pop Goes the Weasel - Meaning?
From: Mark Cohen
Date: 12 Mar 03 - 10:42 PM

Yes, that date is obviously wrong, since Queen Victoria married Prince Albert in 1830. But that aside, I don't think this proves that "Pop Goes the Weasel" was originally a bawdy song. Isn't it likely that the author of this song borrowed the single line "Pop Goes the Weasel" from a different song that was already in common use, and used it in a suggestive manner? It's been done before (though naturally I can't come up with an example at the moment!)

But thanks for resurrecting this thread, Q. Lots of fun stuff here.

Aloha,
Mark


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Subject: RE: Help: Pop Goes the Weasel - Meaning?
From: GUEST,Q
Date: 12 Mar 03 - 11:48 PM

I also think that there was a popular dance that swept up London, and all these ballads were applied to it. The Bodleian has ten listings for "Pop Goes the Weasel," not all the same.
Here is part of another; it has cautions, but is much less crude.- "Johnsons Ballads, 1623 is a copy of the Durham University copy." Printer G. Walker of Durham, Date between 1797-1834. This one not as explicit, but some nice verses. Here are three:

Now all you pretty girls beware when you are gaily prancing,
And mind and watch your sweethearts well when you go out a dancing,
For if you give the rogues their way, as in the dance you are bustling
They'll soon find out the artful dodge, and then they'll spoil your muslin.

She took poor Roger to a house down a very dark turning
And told him he could lodge there all night until the morning
She eased him of his watch and blunt and left poor Roger Teasel
And smiling, said, "I'm off, Pop goes the Weasel."

So now dear mammas, look out, take great care of your daughters,
Get them married off at once or keep them in close quarters
Or after all your care to get them o'er the measles.
You'll have them falling deep in love with "Pop goes the Weasel."

"Pop goes the Weasel's" been in court and met a good reception---The queen and Albert mentioned here as well. Apparently very popular- mentioned are the playhouses Surrey, Vic, Pavilion and Standard, the Britannia and the Eagle.


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Subject: RE: Help: Pop Goes the Weasel - Meaning?
From: masato sakurai
Date: 13 Mar 03 - 05:53 AM

As James J. Fuld says (in The Book of World-Famous Music), "The weasel was originally a metal tool used by hatmakers in England which was popped (i.e., pawned). In the American words, however, the weasel is unmistakenly an animal." See the cover of this edition (Buffalo: J. Sage and Sons, 1854).

There's an entry in Eric Partridge's Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English, vol. 1:
pop goes the weasel!, now gen. regarded as a nursery-rhyme tag, was in the 1870's and 80's a proletarian (mostly Cockney) c.p. [catch-phrase]. Ware, 'Activity is suggestive by "pop", and the little weasel is very active. Probably erotic origin. Chiefly associated with these lines--Up and down the City Road / In and out the Eagle, / That's the way the money goes, / Pop goes the weasel!
However, according to quotations in O.E.D. (1st ed.; s.v. Pop, int., adv.), the suggestive meaning apparently disappeared when it was danced at court balls.
c1854 (Music-seller's Advt. in Newspaper), The new country dance 'Pop goes the weasel', introduced by her Majesty Queen Victoria. -- Musical Bouquet No. 409, Pop goes the Weasel; La Tempête; and Le Grand Père. These fashionable dances as performed at the Court balls. 1855 in N. & Q. 10th Ser. IV. 211/1 This dance is very popular, it it without deception, 'Pop goes the weasel' has been to Court, and met a good reception.
~Masato


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Subject: RE: Help: Pop Goes the Weasel - Meaning?
From: masato sakurai
Date: 13 Mar 03 - 05:55 AM

Hope THIS is the correct link.


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