21 June 2009

Pop Goes The Weasel

The Nursery Rhyme "Pop Goes The Weasel" refers to pawning. A weasel is a coat from Cockney rhyming slang (weasel and stoat for coat) and to "pop" is to pawn. It was traditional for even poor people to own a suit, which they wore as their 'Sunday Best'. When times were hard or they needed drinking money for the "Eagle", they would pawn their suit, or coat, and claim it back before Sunday. Hence the term " Pop goes the Weasel"

There are several versions of this famous nursery rhyme. Here is one of my favorites:

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.

A half a pound of tuppenny rice,
A half a pound of treacle.
Mix it up and make it nice,
Pop! Goes the weasel.

Up and down the London road,
In and out of the Eagle,
That's the way the money goes,
Pop! Goes the weasel.I

I've no time to plead and pine,
I've no time to wheedle,
Kiss me quick and then I'm gone
Pop! Goes the weasel.

Back in 1961 Anthony Newley did a jazzed up version of this children's favorite and this video features the history as well:

Welcome to another Manic Monday with Morgen. Don't forget to cruise by Manic Monday Headquarters for other participants.


Mo said...

i really had no idea it was about pawning your coat!
my dirty mind would have more readily gone to something of a sexual nature rather than something mundane like pawning your coat! LoL

anthonynorth said...

I came down the apple and pairs singing this, and the trouble and strife suggested I just needed a rosy lee :-)

I love these old nursery rhymes, and their true meaning:

Baa Baa Black Sheep - originally a protest against taxes

Ring a Ring a Roses - about the plague

Goosey Goosey Gander - a ballad about London prostitutes

maryt/theteach said...

Jamie, never knew that! Hope you don't mind my ficti0onal ending to the "Cat Under the Hood" story... Never found out what happened...

Linda said...

Seriously? I never knew that either! The things that we teach our kids as nursery rhymes!

It's funny how little ditties like "Ring Around the Rosy" and "Pop Goes the Weasel" become such classic children's songs and yet when you look at the underbelly of them, they aren't exactly something you'd want to teach your kids!

Thank you once again for the history lesson!

carol g said...

ditto what Linda said...
Another informative post, Ms. Jamie...

This Eclectic Life said...

There is some thought that the song refers to the clock reel (called a "weasel") used by spinners to measure their thread. I'm just sayin'

And, when you say the rhyme while turning the handle the "pop" comes at the right time...

Mimi Lenox said...

I had no idea! Thanks for the information. Unfortunately, now that blasted song is stuck in my head.

Marilyn said...

Wow. I had no idea.

Travis said...

I'm joining the gang in never knowing what pop goes the weasel meant.

And I really enjoy Anthony Newly!