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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)


GUEST,Dazbo at work 27 Oct 11 - 08:02 AM
catspaw49 14 Jul 11 - 07:21 PM
GUEST,David LONDON 14 Jul 11 - 07:13 PM
GUEST,Paul Burke 23 Jul 10 - 06:38 PM
GUEST,p 23 Jul 10 - 12:50 PM
Bunnahabhain 07 Nov 06 - 12:58 PM
GUEST,thurg 06 Nov 06 - 07:05 PM
Paul Burke 06 Nov 06 - 06:22 AM
GUEST,padgett 06 Nov 06 - 05:47 AM
Bunnahabhain 06 Nov 06 - 03:22 AM
Jim Dixon 05 Nov 06 - 01:49 PM
GUEST,Andy 02 Apr 04 - 09:33 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 01 Apr 04 - 08:30 PM
GUEST,df 01 Apr 04 - 08:03 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 01 Apr 04 - 06:00 PM
GUEST,Barrie Roberts 01 Apr 04 - 05:30 PM
GUEST,Joe - of the - Joe 31 Mar 04 - 07:46 PM
IanC 19 Jan 04 - 11:28 AM
GUEST,padgett 19 Jan 04 - 06:36 AM
GUEST,Hugh Jampton 19 Jan 04 - 05:49 AM
Kaleea 19 Jan 04 - 02:09 AM
GUEST 18 Jan 04 - 03:50 PM
Jim Dixon 22 Nov 03 - 05:52 PM
Joybell 18 Nov 03 - 07:14 AM
GUEST,jgunn03 08 Jun 03 - 06:58 PM
GUEST,jgunn03 08 Jun 03 - 06:54 PM
masato sakurai 16 Mar 03 - 04:12 AM
GUEST,Q 15 Mar 03 - 01:40 PM
Abby Sale 15 Mar 03 - 11:13 AM
GUEST,Q 15 Mar 03 - 01:12 AM
GUEST,Q 14 Mar 03 - 07:56 PM
masato sakurai 14 Mar 03 - 07:31 PM
GUEST,Q 14 Mar 03 - 04:45 PM
Naemanson 14 Mar 03 - 03:22 PM
GUEST,Q 14 Mar 03 - 02:04 PM
Abby Sale 14 Mar 03 - 12:24 PM
Naemanson 13 Mar 03 - 02:44 PM
GUEST,Q 13 Mar 03 - 02:02 PM
C-flat 13 Mar 03 - 12:51 PM
CarolC 13 Mar 03 - 12:33 PM
Peter K (Fionn) 13 Mar 03 - 12:24 PM
JohnnyBeezer 13 Mar 03 - 11:05 AM
masato sakurai 13 Mar 03 - 05:55 AM
masato sakurai 13 Mar 03 - 05:53 AM
GUEST,Q 12 Mar 03 - 11:48 PM
Mark Cohen 12 Mar 03 - 10:42 PM
GUEST,Q 12 Mar 03 - 09:48 PM
Mark Cohen 17 Mar 00 - 05:24 PM
McGrath of Harlow 17 Mar 00 - 03:53 PM
GUEST,ardie@bwn.net 17 Mar 00 - 12:58 PM
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Subject: RE: Pop Goes the Weasel - Meaning?
From: GUEST,Dazbo at work
Date: 27 Oct 11 - 08:02 AM

"Half a pound of tuppenny rice, half a pound of treacle" - is this part of a recipe for an alcoholic drink?

The Eagle was the site of one of the first ever music halls.


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Subject: RE: Pop Goes the Weasel - Meaning?
From: catspaw49
Date: 14 Jul 11 - 07:21 PM

Huh! I'll be damned! And here all along I been thinkin' this was about an evil monkey stuffing weasel assholes with firecrackers................


Spaw


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Subject: RE: Pop Goes the Weasel - Meaning?
From: GUEST,David LONDON
Date: 14 Jul 11 - 07:13 PM

Just come back from a walk down City Road, the Eagle Public House is still there, and on the wall outside is painted;
UP AND DOWN THE CITY ROAD
IN AND OUT THE EAGLE
THAT'S THE WAY THE MONEY GOES
POP GOES THE WEASEL

Good to see that as I am on ebay as 'theweaselgoespop'


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Subject: RE: Pop Goes the Weasel - Meaning?
From: GUEST,Paul Burke
Date: 23 Jul 10 - 06:38 PM

Creeping PC perhaps? When I were a kid it was "we'll never let him go". Now I don't believe in gratuitous violence, but does anyone feellike starting a thread to discuss whether shielding children from unpleasant images makes them more sensitive socially, or if exposing them to harsh images (I'm not talking about Reservoir Dogs, more Hansel and Gretel) gives them the opportunity to challenge inequity and develop an ethical reflex?


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Subject: RE: Pop Goes the Weasel - Meaning?
From: GUEST,p
Date: 23 Jul 10 - 12:50 PM

It is difficult to keep preschool children sitting still for long periods
of time, but many parents and day care workers still want most play times
to have some structure. These action preschooler songs (which can be
easily fond at any music search ) are a great way to make that happen.
The song goes like this:
A Hunting
we will go, a hunting we will go,
Find a fox, put him in a box, and
them we'll let him go!
Children can ride around the room either on
hobby horses, or by galloping (parents may need to demonstrate)
and "hunt" the stuffed animals placed around the room. Let
each child try to help the parent think of a rhyme for the last line
that coordinates with the animal they have found. Consider rhymes like
"find a bear, put him in a chair" or "find a horse, and
then course, we'll simply let him go", etc.


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Subject: RE: Pop Goes the Weasel - Meaning?
From: Bunnahabhain
Date: 07 Nov 06 - 12:58 PM

Thank you Thurg. Good Link. The whole thing's interesting.

The dance they're doing has retained the central figure from the earlier dances of this name, with a the dancing couple dancing a circle with one other person, and popping the spare through an arch they form at the end of the circle to progress. It has also retained the smae phrasing.Most of the other figures have changed, to make it more intersting for the supporting couples.

Stealing good tunes, or interesting figures is tradional, and one we keep up to this day.


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Subject: RE: Pop Goes the Weasel - Meaning?
From: GUEST,thurg
Date: 06 Nov 06 - 07:05 PM

Those of you who are into the dance end of this discussion might want to check this out: http://www.folkstreams.net/film,93. About five minutes into the film (New England Fiddlers), there's a clip of a minute or two of a group of people dancing to Pop Goes the Weasel, with a caller.


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Subject: RE: Pop Goes the Weasel - Meaning?
From: Paul Burke
Date: 06 Nov 06 - 06:22 AM

Napoleon would be Napoleon III, French Emperor 1852-1870. The siege of Sebastopol was Sept 1854- Sept 1855.


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Subject: RE: Pop Goes the Weasel - Meaning?
From: GUEST,padgett
Date: 06 Nov 06 - 05:47 AM

Much higher up:

Pop is clearly to pawn

But not pawning the heavy 'iron goose' used by tailors, but as was the tradition the man's suit was worn only on Fridays/Saturdays so the inference is that on Monday the suit was pawned until needed the following Friday/Sat after the man got paid and could redeem his pledge

Pop goes the Weasel = Pawning the suit until needed next weekend!

In my opinion
Ray


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Subject: RE: Pop Goes the Weasel - Meaning?
From: Bunnahabhain
Date: 06 Nov 06 - 03:22 AM

Sebastopol's not taken yet does date it. The reference to Napoleon is clearly anachonistic, but he was a well known name, so can turn up anywhere post 1795.

The maine law? Possibly a reference to the fishing grounds dispute mentioned above

Re the dance instructions. I can't usefully date it from it's content, but it is of a style I would say is more probably American than British, in the versions above. Virtually all the british dances of this period have a specified number of couples, which this lacks.

Its description as a contra-dance is accurate though. It appears to have a 32 bar dance, in a long line, with a new top couple starting when there is room, as per a modern Orcadian strip the willow


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Subject: Lyr Add: POP GOES THE WEAZLE
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 05 Nov 06 - 01:49 PM

From a song sheet (broadside) at The Library of Congress American Memory Collection:

POP GOES THE WEAZLE. (sic) NO. 3.
H. De Marsan, Publisher, 38 Chatham Street, N. Y. [no date]

Queen Victoria is very sick,
Napoleon's got the measles,
Sebastopol's not taken yet;
Pop goes the weazle,

CHORUS: All round the cobbler's bench,
The monkey chased the weazle,
The priest, he kissed the cobbler's wife,
Pop went the weazle.

A penny for a ball of thread,
A penny for a needle,
That's the way the money goes;
Pop goes the weazle. CHORUS

My wife, she is awful sick,
The baby's got the measles,
Sally's got the whooping cough;
Pop goes the weazle. CHORUS

Johnny Bull, he makes his brag,
He can whip the whole creation,
Why don't he take Sebastopol,
By Pop goes the weazle. CHORUS

Mayor Wood has put the rumsellers through,
The Maine Law's a sad evil,
We cannot get our toddy now;
Pop goes the weazle. CHORUS

[The line "Sebastopol's not taken yet" would seem to date this version to 1854-55.]


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Subject: RE: Pop Goes the Weasel - Meaning?
From: GUEST,Andy
Date: 02 Apr 04 - 09:33 AM

It just goes to show what crap teachers tell the kids just to stop them from asking questions.
We were always told that popping the weasel meant opening a weasel skin purse


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Subject: RE: Pop Goes the Weasel - Meaning?
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 01 Apr 04 - 08:30 PM

About the third posting of this. Guests, please read previous threads and posts.


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Subject: RE: Pop Goes the Weasel - Meaning?
From: GUEST,df
Date: 01 Apr 04 - 08:03 PM

This poem originated in England first off.

Up and down the city road - a busy road with tailor shops along it
In and out of the Eagle    - The Eagle was a pub
That's the way the money goes - Spending money for beer in the Eagle
Pop goes the Weasel - A weasel is a tailor's iron sort of like a Sad
                      iron. Pop, is to pawn the weasel.

Unlike jobs today, tailors and other trades used to work by the week.
Each Monday they had to find a new job - up and down the city road -
This also applied to joiners and carpenters etc.
A good reference for British and American colloquialisms would be
a book by Eric Partridge titled "Dictionary of the Underworld"


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Subject: RE: Pop Goes the Weasel - Meaning?
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 01 Apr 04 - 06:00 PM

This thread has caught its tail and is going round for the third time.


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Subject: RE: Pop Goes the Weasel - Meaning?
From: GUEST,Barrie Roberts
Date: 01 Apr 04 - 05:30 PM

'Pop goes the weasel' is nineteenth century London rhyming slang. A 'Weasel' meant a 'Weasel and stoat', ie an overcoat, which was regularly pawned when times got hard. 'Pop' was (and still is) general English slang for 'pawn'.


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Subject: RE: Pop Goes the Weasel - Meaning?
From: GUEST,Joe - of the - Joe
Date: 31 Mar 04 - 07:46 PM

Wow,,,,,,,,,, How many different meanings could there be?
It looks like over the years, people have taken this song, which seems to refer most often to people outspending their reserves, and using whatever they have to pawn for more money.
I'll search through the websites I've found with the song's lyrics
and put together my own version.
Hell, in a culture where the powers that be promote keeping as many
people as possible in debt, I could (or anybody who wants to could)
write new verses that would very much follow the theme of the song.
We could even write newer slang words; "pop goes the weasel" could
be "hock goes the means". hahahahaha


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Subject: RE: Pop Goes the Weasel - Meaning?
From: IanC
Date: 19 Jan 04 - 11:28 AM

Guest

Though I agree with the gist of your contribution, I think it might be worth correcting your statement that Victoria and Albert were married in 1830.

Victoria ascnded the throne in 1837 at the age of 18 (just) and unmarried. She married Albert on 11th February, 1840. Had she married in 1830, it would have been at the age of 11.

:-(


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Subject: RE: Pop Goes the Weasel - Meaning?
From: GUEST,padgett
Date: 19 Jan 04 - 06:36 AM

Pop Goes the Weasel appears in a Walter Pardon song " he squared up to me and pulled my watch out he stole my beaver (hat) and damaged my snout
Pop goes the weasel to me he did say down by the Dark Arches under the railway" etc
the unfortunate had gone with a young lady, when he encountered her pimp, he ends up without clothes at all

the pimp,presumably pawned or fenced the said items in oirder to finance a night of drinking
Pop is to pawn with possible reclaim late
weasel probably slang for suit/tailor as the Tailors "Iron" would be heated up and resembled the front of a boat with a round snout. the Tailors ironing action would resemble a Weasel as it moved over the clothes


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Subject: RE: Pop Goes the Weasel - Meaning?
From: GUEST,Hugh Jampton
Date: 19 Jan 04 - 05:49 AM

"Firing"??? Come on Jim, use your imagination.


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Subject: RE: Pop Goes the Weasel - Meaning?
From: Kaleea
Date: 19 Jan 04 - 02:09 AM

Golly Jeepers! What am I to think when the Irish Dance instructor-heretofore thought of as a proper lady--asks me to play a "Pop Jig" for the wee ones who are learning to dance a basic jig step? The most common "Pop Jig" of course being "Pop Goes The Weasel." What must the parents think when attending a performance where their little girls are Jigging to such a bawdy song?!    Will I ever be able to keep a straight face again when asked to accompany the wee dancers dancing their Pop Jig to "Pop Goes The Weasel?"
    Will all of those "Jack in the Boxes" which play "Pop Goes the Weasel" be recalled when the PTL (Pass The Loot club) & Pat Robertson find out?


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Subject: RE: Help: Pop Goes the Weasel - Meaning?
From: GUEST
Date: 18 Jan 04 - 03:50 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!)"

The phrase "Buddy Won't You Roll Down the Line" is a good example of what you're talking about. That's the title (and refrain) of a famous American folksong, but it almost certainly refers to older songs, probably sung by workers on chaingangs.


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Subject: Lyr Add: POP GOES THE WEASEL
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 22 Nov 03 - 05:52 PM

Here's one where the sexual meanings are a little more obvious. Of course, this doesn't prove that the bawdy versions are any older than the non-bawdy versions. From Bodleian Library Broadside Ballads, Harding B 11(47), no date given.

Anybody know what "firing" means in verse 3?

THE RIGS
And Sprees of this Town, or
POP GOES
The Weasel.


Come all you lads and lasses gay, and listen with attention,
And of the sprees of —— town, I presently will mention.
With Jack & Will & Tom & Bill, and Bet with Mary Teasel,
I took a move into —— town, and there I popt the Weasel.

And now I've got into —— town. Believe me what I say, sir.
With the pretty girls in this place, I'll have some gallant play, sir.
I can dance and sing and merry be, & play with Mary Teasel,
And when we get into the dark, pop will go the Weasel.

There's tradesmen here of every kind and some that are fond of firing,
And the pretty girls in this town, I'm sure they are admiring.
And when the dance it does begin, they'll come with Master Teasel,
And before they go home at night, I'm sure they'll pop the Weasel.

Now you can pop the Weasel, Bet, and so can Nell and Kate then,
But in nine months, my darling girls, how sad will be your fate then!
You'll curse the day that you did play along with Roger Teasel,
Or on the grass you tumbled down & learnt to pop the Weasel.

Now Nelly she does rue the day, and so does Mary Anne, sirs.
Look at the size; you may easy tell the thing that I do mean, sir.
The other night in going home along with Farmer Teasel,
We had not got far from the town before pop went the Weasel.

You may talk about the jolly lads that come to —— town, sirs;
They are the lads I do declare to do the thing that brown, sirs.
They can walk out and take the arm of young Miss Lady Teasel,
And before they do return again, they play Pop goes the Weasel.

Now pop the weasel, Bet and Jack. Pop it in and out then.
Pop the Weasel, Joe and Bet. Don't let them pull it out then.
When going home, now don't you stop along with Master Teasel,
Or you will rue the day you learnt to dance Pop goes the Weasel.

I'll end my song—it is not long—but tell you in a trice, sirs:
I'd have you all both great and small just take some good advice, sirs.
When homeward bound, don't tumble down along with Master Teasel,
Or he will spoil your muslin gown when dancing Pop goes the Weasel.


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Subject: RE: Help: Pop Goes the Weasel - Meaning?
From: Joybell
Date: 18 Nov 03 - 07:14 AM

A friend of mine found a reference to a weasel being a name for a stopper in a bottle. He promptly forgot where he saw it and wonders if anyone has come across that definition. If a weasel was a cork in a bottle it would possibly fit quite well with drinking in the Eagle Tavern.


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Subject: RE: Help: Pop Goes the Weasel - Meaning?
From: GUEST,jgunn03
Date: 08 Jun 03 - 06:58 PM

yeah, i forgot--looking at the lyrics posted on the website--I learned it as "'Round & 'round the strawberry bush, the monkey chase the wasel, the waesel thought it was all the fun". This was pretty much the same lyrics the tour guide referred to.
ok. i've got to get off this website & get a life.
bye.


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Subject: RE: Help: Pop Goes the Weasel - Meaning?
From: GUEST,jgunn03
Date: 08 Jun 03 - 06:54 PM

I went to West Salem once when I was younger. We went to the famous "House of the & Gables". I remember going into one of the rooms that had a spinning wheel. The tour guide said that the song "pop goes the Weasel" was talking about the way people spin yarn. She was saying that when they'd spin yarn, there was something that they'd do that would present a popping sound.
Anyway, I got my plug in for West Salem. It was fun!


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Subject: RE: Help: Pop Goes the Weasel - Meaning?
From: masato sakurai
Date: 16 Mar 03 - 04:12 AM

Quoted from Iona & Peter Opie, The Singing Game (Oxford UP, 1985, p. 218):
The significance of 'weasel', if any, has been a favourite subject for speculation. It has been suggested that a 'weasel' is a tailor's flat-iron, a hatter's tool, a piece of silver plate, or a 'weasel and stoat' (rhyming slang for coat) which must be 'popped' or pawned because of visits to the Eagle; that it is a mishearing of weevil or vaisselle (which leads to further obscurities); that it was James I's nickname ('because of his thin sharp features and red hair) and that, 'rice' and 'treacle' being slang terms for potassium nitrate and charcoal respectively, the rhyme refers to the Gunpowder Plot; that the phrase describes a sixpence expended, a cork being drawn out of a bottle, or the sinuous weasel-like movement of the dancer passing under the arms of his partners. But even when the dance was at the height of its popularity nobody seems to have known what the phrase meant, and W.R. Mandale, in his comic song 'Pop Goes the Weasel', says that after enquiring of everyone he met,

I'm still as wise as e'er I was,
As full's an empty pea-shell,
In as far as the true history goes
Of 'Pop goes the weasel'.
~Masato


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Subject: RE: Help: Pop Goes the Weasel - Meaning?
From: GUEST,Q
Date: 15 Mar 03 - 01:40 PM

The three verses by Tony from Darwin (and in slightly different form by M. Ted) are the best known, certainly the one learned by children. In the same website that mentions "Gow's Repository," (see link above) Michael Quinion gives the "usual British version" (also common in America except for the City road-Eagle verse). They are in part Tony's-

Half a pound of tuppenny rice,
Half a pound of treacle,
That's where the money goes,
Pop goes the weasel.

Up and down the City road,
In and out the Eagle,
That's the way the money goes,
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.

A penny for a ball of thread,
Another for a needle,
That's the way the money goes,
Pop goes the weasel.

All around the cobbler's bench
The monkey chased the people;
The donkey thought 'twas all in fun,
Pop goes the weasel.
These "nursery" rhymes all seem to be post-1850, or after the dance was introduced. Any evidence of their prior existence??
Perhaps a verse like this was the start (also from Quinion):

Queen Victoria's very sick,
Prince Albert's got the measles.
The children have the whooping cough,
And pop! Goes the weasel.

He found this in the March, 1860 issue of the "Southern Literary Messenger" of Richmond, VA.

A David Joyce (also quoted in Quinion) says the "tune is a version of one used for the country dance, "The Haymakers," which has the same form as "Strip the Willow" and "Bab at the Bowster," dances in which a bridge is formed. Anyone know anything about these?

Here is the website again: Pop Goes the Weasel


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Subject: RE: Help: Pop Goes the Weasel - Meaning?
From: Abby Sale
Date: 15 Mar 03 - 11:13 AM

In looking through all the varients so far posted, I gotta say the one posted by Tony - from The Annotated Mother Goose, by William S. Baring-Gould & Ceil Baring-Gould, is the most appealing. The song makes consistant sense taken in the context of workman's tools-pawn-drink.

On the other hand, that was the first explanation I ever heard and naturally one tends to believe the first example one learns of something. William S was, as I recall, the American grandsons of the Reverend B-G. Although the Rev. was known to fudge here and there, I'm quite sure that is not an inherited trait. I mean by that, is the explanation just TOO pat? Naw! it works.


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Subject: RE: Help: Pop Goes the Weasel - Meaning?
From: GUEST,Q
Date: 15 Mar 03 - 01:12 AM

A not too reliable article, but says this about Pop Goes the Weasel.
"The tune was published in "Gow's Repository," issued in four volumes between 1799 and 1820."
The article also mentions the 1850 Miller and Beecham printing (see Masato, above) as the earliest found, British printings somewhat later- 1854. But several of the Bodleian printings are undated.
See: http://www.worldwidewords.org/qa/qa-pop1.htm: Pop Goes the Weasel

Duke University has a version of "Pop Goes The Weasel" dated 1855, New York, which has many of the lines of the version posted by Naemanson. In Historic American Sheet Music: Pop Goes the Weasel


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Subject: RE: Help: Pop Goes the Weasel - Meaning?
From: GUEST,Q
Date: 14 Mar 03 - 07:56 PM

Masato, thanks for the dance instruction references. Now with a little practice with a broom in front of a mirror---


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Subject: RE: Help: Pop Goes the Weasel - Meaning?
From: masato sakurai
Date: 14 Mar 03 - 07:31 PM

Abby Sale, thanks for the info on and from the Levy book. I'll look for it myself, too.

GUEST,Q, a more readable dance description is on page 4 of Pop goes the weasel for Fun & frolic with a full description of the figures. 1850 (Baltimore, Maryland, Miller & Beacham, [185-?]) (Click here). "Pop Goes the Weasel" as a contra dance is fully described in a dance instruction book Dick's quadrille call-book, and ball-room prompter ... To which is added a sensible guide to etiquette and proper deportment in the ball and assembly room, besides seventy pages of dance music for the piano (New York, Dick & Fitzgerald [c1878], pp. 95-97; p. 185 [music]). An illustration of the dance "As Performed at the Court Balls" is given to Pop Goes the Weasel; La Tempete; and Le Grand Pere. Three Fashionable Dances (London: Musical Bouquet Offices, n.d.) [at Levy].

~Masato


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Subject: RE: Help: Pop Goes the Weasel - Meaning?
From: GUEST,Q
Date: 14 Mar 03 - 04:45 PM

None of Huntington's words seem to be older than the 1850s. His suggestion that the song dates back to the 18th century in America is speculation.
There may have been an old dance melody that was used for "Pop Goes the Weasel," but so far nothing firm.

1st verse: Dance introduced in that form in 1854.
2nd. verse: The cobbler of the English song replaced by "around the mulberry bush."
3rd Verse: "Go draw two lines..." Describes the dance introduced by Queen Victoria.
4th verse: "John Bull sends forth his iron hounds..." About the fight over the fishing grounds off the east coast (1850s, I believe). Several songs about this fight. Here are some verses from two of them, taken from American Memory, Nineteenth Century Song sheets.

The Fishery Fight Down East
(Tune- There was an old chap of the West Countrie).
1. There's a row away down in the East Countrie,
A breach of a treaty, the English have found;
'Tis all about fishing upon the salt sea,
And catching of Codfish upon British ground.
Cho: Right too ral, looral, tooral-luddity, etc.
3. So about this same quarrel we want our old "Dan"
To expound us the treaty etc.


The Other Side of Jordan (Minstrel song, 1860, H. de Marsan, Publisher)
Oh, de Codfish Question, it made a mighty talk,
'Twas a subject dat we nebber said a word on,
But when John Bull got sassy, de Yankees made him walk,
And day drobe him to the oder side of Jordan.

Dere's Poor Uncle Tom. and de Old Folks at Home, etc.

5th verse: He tells us in a pious hum,
How we abuses Uncle Tom, etc.
Obviously written after the appearance of the book, "Uncle Tom's Cabin."

6th verse: A penny for a spool of thread- found in British broadsides of the 1850s.


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Subject: RE: Help: Pop Goes the Weasel - Meaning?
From: Naemanson
Date: 14 Mar 03 - 03:22 PM

OK, here we go. The following comes from Folksongs From Martha's Vineyard, Some Songs Of The Singing Tilton's Of Chilmark, As Learned And Sung By Gale Huntington. The foreward is by Edward D. (Sandy) Ives. It's dated 1967.

Pop Goes The Weasel
This song was popular as a singing game in England as early as the 17th Century. It is still popular in New England Today as a fiddle tune, although fiddle players are becoming scarcer and scarcer.
Many old tunes like "Pop Goes The Weasel" and "Yankee Doodle" were used in all sorts of verses. And that is what we have here. Stanza Two is surely the caller's directions for a square dance. Stanza Three goes back to the long and bitter disputes between the United States and England over fishing rights. The fourth stanza is about the all-absorbing question of slavery. The line, "While he makes white folks slaves at home" refers to the English mill workers who surely were economic slaves. The old pronunciation of "home" on Martha's Vineyard was almost always "hum" and a person was always "to hum" rather than "at home".

Of all the dances in the land
To galvanize the heart and hand
There's none that goes a-half so grand,
As "Pop Goes The Weasel"

Chorus:
All around the mulberry bush
The monkey chased the weasel,
Round and round and round and round,
Pop goes the weasel.

Chorus:

Go draw two lines as straight as a string,
Dive under like a duck and sing,
And round and round and three in a ring,
Pop goes the weasel.

Chorus:

John Bull sends forth his iron hounds,
To chase us off our fishing grounds,
He'd better stay within his bounds,
Pop goes the weasel.

Chorus:

He tells us in a pious hum
How we abuses Uncle Tom,
While he makes white folks slaves at home
Pop goes the weasel.

Chorus:

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

Chorus:


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Subject: RE: Help: Pop Goes the Weasel - Meaning?
From: GUEST,Q
Date: 14 Mar 03 - 02:04 PM

The Figures to the dance in the link given by Masato are barely readable. Here is most of the description; I hope someone can fill in the missing words.
The dance seems to be of a type that was once common: the ladies and gentlemen line up in two long rows opposite each other, and the action is started by the top couple.

Description in the sheet music:
"This is an old and very animated English Dance, that has lately been revived among the higher classes of Society. It is danced in a line, the Gentlemen opposite the Ladies.
1st. Top Couple down the middle and reverse- 8 bars.
2nd. Cast off outside and return- 8 bars.
*3rd. The same couple execute hands three(?) with the Lady next them. 8 bars.
4th. Top couple raise their arms and the Lady passes under, at which time all sing 'Pop Goes The Weasel.'- 8 bars.
5th. The same couple repeat the last figure with the Lady's partner- 8 bars.
*The same couple repeats all down the line. After passing three or four couples, the top--------- till all are in motion."
* words indistinct.

Not ever having done this type of dancing, the instructions seem a little cryptic.


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Subject: RE: Help: Pop Goes the Weasel - Meaning?
From: Abby Sale
Date: 14 Mar 03 - 12:24 PM

Masato, I think the meaning may have changed many times as new versions arose. In the many square dance tune printings such as your link, no words are used, of course, so the cover picture might have been only the music puiblisher's notion rather than anyone dancing to it.

I happen to have on Inter-Library Loan just now Flashes of Merriment -- A Century of Humorous Songs in America 1805 - 1905 by Lester S. Levy. He mentions mid-19th cent versions of a dozen verses, well-known enough for the general populace to join in. Most seem to be in that music-hall-type Negro dialect. (A large proportion of these songs were.)

The only text he gives is undated but seems late, c.1900. It is also in that dialect. However, it's a deeply political, protest song covering many aspects of racism, war, poverty, fishing rights, the evils of Temperance. It also mentions itself as a popular dance song. But, alas, gives no clue what this version-author thinks a Weasel is.

The structure is 4 verses, each with three sets of three lines plus the "Pop" line. Or maybe that's the same as 12 verses, in fact. There's no separate chorus. The tune given does not scan to three sub-verses, though, just the usual two. Just picking two sub-verses:

     John Bull tells, in de ole cows hum,
     How Uncle Sam used Uncle Tom,
     While he makes some white slaves at home,
        By "Pop goes de Weasel!"

     All around the cobbler's house,
     The Monkey chased the people,
     The Minister kiss'd the Deacon's wife,
        Pop went the Weasel.


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Subject: RE: Help: Pop Goes the Weasel - Meaning?
From: Naemanson
Date: 13 Mar 03 - 02:44 PM

Well, that's all very well but I have a copy of Gale Huntington's book where he says he collected it on the northeast coast of the USA and claims it dates to before the American Revolution. The words he gives definitely reference that war.

Give me a day to go get that book.


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Subject: RE: Help: Pop Goes the Weasel - Meaning?
From: GUEST,Q
Date: 13 Mar 03 - 02:02 PM

Weasel has several meanings. My wife is a weaver and has a weasel on her swift (but goes clik rather than pop). It was also part of a cobbler's tool kit and part of a hatmaker's toolkit.
Did any of these have anything to do with the dance? whether the "pop" referred to an action in the dance, to the animal or to one of these tools is not clear.

In English cant, monkey has several meanings- probably many more than are recorded:
To suck the monkey meant to draw liquor out of a container with a straw or tube, surreptitiously.
Monkey's allowance- more kicks than halfpence.
(From Grose, 1811, Dictionary (of Slang)

Pop has many meanings, in addition to that of a short sudden sound.
To pawn- in print by 1780.
Pistol- in print 1728. Two pops and a galloper was slang for a highwayman (Grose, 1811).
A showy dresser- from Chaucer's time to 18th century.
To paint the face- as above.

Pop Goes the Weasel- (See Masato above). "a country dance very popular in the "fifties." OED. The dance was introduced to the Court by Queen Victoria in 1854 [This pretty well dates the broadsheets in the Bodleian and quoted in posts here]. Did the "pop" refer to anything more than a sudden action in the dance??
Masato has linked to sheet music in American printing, showing that the dance crossed the ocean almost immediately after it was presented at court.

A familiar name for anything (including tools) that could be pawned.
An animal.
Sexual intercourse.
A valve on a locomotive.
Just a selection from the OED and slang dictionaries.


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Subject: RE: Help: Pop Goes the Weasel - Meaning?
From: C-flat
Date: 13 Mar 03 - 12:51 PM

I think that the earlier suggestion that the "monkey" was Cockney rhyming slang for £500 is probably off target.
While a "monkey" does indeed represent £500 in the East-end of London, I would doubt that many of the population of London in those days ever saw £500 in their lifetimes.


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Subject: RE: Help: Pop Goes the Weasel - Meaning?
From: CarolC
Date: 13 Mar 03 - 12:33 PM

I don't know what the words are supposed to mean, but this is what I was taught was the purpose and use of the song when I was an apprentice weaver:

Sewing/Weaving songs

Believe it or not, "Pop Goes the Weasel" is an actual working song used by spinners as they wind the yarn onto the swift to make skeins. Or so I was told while I was an apprentice weaver many years ago.

The "weasel" is a little device that makes a snapping or "popping" sound as the swift makes one complete revolution, allowing the spinner to count the revolutions and keep track of how much yarn has been wound on.

The song is sung so that the timeing of the word "pop" coincides with the snapping or popping of the weasel.

During my apprenticeship, I did some skein winding using a weasel, and I had the opportunity to sing the song while I was winding. It was actually a lot of fun to see if I could get the timing of the song right.


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Subject: RE: Help: Pop Goes the Weasel - Meaning?
From: Peter K (Fionn)
Date: 13 Mar 03 - 12:24 PM

Weasel may have the wider meaning of a craftsman's toolkit but it certainly had a specific application in tailoring, as I think "stick" and "monkey" did too. Along with the Eagle, the City Road also boasts a pub called the Stick & Weasel.


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Subject: RE: Help: Pop Goes the Weasel - Meaning?
From: JohnnyBeezer
Date: 13 Mar 03 - 11:05 AM

I think you'll find that WILDLONE is the nearest.
A weasel is a Hatter's hat blocking tool so I was told many years ago.
Johnny N


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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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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: 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: 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: 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: 17 Mar 00 - 05:24 PM

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


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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: 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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