[Ads-l] a little more on ejaculatory pop, etc.

Joel Berson berson at ATT.NET
Thu Mar 16 16:50:04 EDT 2017


To steal it?  If it's a (lucky) purse).

Two of the three verses given by Wikipedia are quite consistent with "weasel" being a purse, and "pop" being the sound of it opening, to pay the bills (for rice and at the Eagle).  The second Wikipedia verse I can't make fit this hypothesis.  Nor can I fit in the "mulberry bush" verse.  Perhaps they and other verses were added just for fun, or when the coiner did not know what "weasel" meant, or ... .


Joel


      From: Jonathan Lighter <wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM>
 To: ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU 
 Sent: Thursday, March 16, 2017 2:54 PM
 Subject: Re: [ADS-L] a little more on ejaculatory pop, etc.
   
Why would a monkey chase a purse around a bench?

JL

On Thu, Mar 16, 2017 at 1:55 PM, Peter Reitan <pjreitan at hotmail.com> wrote:

> The 1869 reference Garson mentioned says that the "term 'weasel' or
> 'weasel skin' became among the lower orders synonymous with purse", and the
> 1880s newspaper article I mentioned said that "in Missouri and Iowa" the
> term "weasel-skin" was used to refer to coin purses, generally.  The purses
> and their lucky powers are mentioned in print in numerous places.
>
>
> I've seen a couple descriptions of the purses that describe them as having
> the head and paws intact, like the fox stole in my parents attic back in
> the day.
>
> ________________________________
> From: American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU> on behalf of
> Jonathan Lighter <wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM>
> Sent: Thursday, March 16, 2017 10:07:14 AM
> To: ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU
> Subject: Re: a little more on ejaculatory pop, etc.
>
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> -----------------------
> Sender:      American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:      Jonathan Lighter <wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM>
> Subject:      Re: a little more on ejaculatory pop, etc.
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> -------------------
>
> Have we any early documentation that "weasel" was in use to mean "purse" of
> weasel-skin or otherwise?
>
> Cf. comparable U.S. "eelskin" =3D "eelskin purse."
>
> JL
>
> On Thu, Mar 16, 2017 at 12:43 PM, ADSGarson O'Toole <
> adsgarsonotoole at gmail.com> wrote:
>
> > Peter's 1905 citation included the interesting hypothesis of a "Notes
> > and Queries" correspondent linking "Pop goes the weasel" to a
> > weasel-skin purse. Here is an earlier presentation of that linkage
> > although the sound of the clasp was not mentioned. (1869 is a late
> > date; maybe it can be pushed back.)
> >
> > Date: January 21, 1869
> > Periodical: The Cultivator & Country Gentleman
> > Quote Page 62 and 63
> > Publisher: Luther Tucker & Son, Albany, New York
> > Database: Google Books Full View
> >
> > https://books.google.com/books?id=3D-S0_AQAAMAAJ&q=3D%
> > 22weasel+skin%22#v=3Dsnippet&
> >
> > [Begin excerpt]
> > "POP GOES THE WEASEL."
> >
> > Every one has heard the tune "Pop goes the Weasel," but it is not
> > every one that knows what is meant by the phrase, or how it had its
> > origin. Most people think it a mere unmeaning chorus, like "Hey Derry
> > Down," words in which sound is consulted rather than sense.
> >
> > "Weasel" in this case has a meaning however, and as the word is
> > connected with a rather curious old country superstition, an
> > explanation may not prove uninteresting.
> >
> > Amongst the common people of the old country, there used to be a very
> > prevalent idea that a purse made of weasel-skin would never get empty,
> > and although weasel-skin purses never became very common, yet, in
> > obedience to the popular superstition, a few persons have been known
> > to carry them. But the term "weasel" or "weasel-skin," became among
> > the lower orders synonymous with purse, and was at one time in quite
> > common use. Hence, the phrase "Pop goes the Weasel," simply signifies
> > "out comes your purse." Taken in connection with the rest of the song,
> > it will be seen that the phrase has an appropriate meaning.    X
> > [End excerpt]
> >
> > Garson
> >
> > On Thu, Mar 16, 2017 at 11:18 AM, Peter Reitan <pjreitan at hotmail.com>
> > wrote:
> > > Robin Hamilton's Mudcat poster's version apparently appears in The
> > Oxford Nursery Rhyme Book (1955) and The Annotated Mother Goose (1962).
> > >
> > >
> > > I ran across an explanation published in 1905, based on the writer's
> > recollection of the 1860s, which ties together the line, "that's where
> th=
> e
> > money goes", with the weasel's "pop".  That explanation also includes all
> > three of Robin's verses.
> > >
> > >
> > > As I wrote in an earlier post, "that's where the money goes," was a
> > popular song in 1840s England, and the expression was frequently used
> > idiomatically and set apart in quotations.  The various versions of the
> > song recited various ways people spend or waste money, frequently
> > contrasting how poor people "waste" money on necessities and rich people
> > spend it on luxuries.
> > >
> > >
> > > The first two verses provided by Robin are similar to that song, in
> tha=
> t
> > the first verse speaks of spending money on rice and the second verse of
> > spending money drinking at the Eagle, which was a famous pub.  The second
> > verse even borrows the line "that's where the money goes" from the
> earlie=
> r
> > song.
> > >
> > >
> > > A 1905 recollection of the song suggests that "pop goes the weasel"
> > refers to the sound made by the clasp on a weasel skin purse.
> > >
> > >
> > > =E2=80=9CThis phrase certainly refers to a purse made of weasel-skin,
> w=
> hich
> > opened and closed with a snap.  The =E2=80=9Cpopping of the weasel=E2=80=
> =9D in the song (I
> > believe a sort of music-hall ditty of the fifties) is the opening of the
> > purse, and consequent spending of money, as the context shows.
> =E2=80=9C=
> Bang went
> > saxpence=E2=80=9D is a verbal, not a real, parallel.=E2=80=9D
> > >
> > >
> > > Notes and Queries, 10th S. III, June 24, 1905, page 491.
> > >
> > >
> > > To be fair, the same volume also contains other speculations, including
> > pawning (popping) a tailor's "weasel" (a tailor's tool) to get money to
> > drink at the Eagle tavern.
> > >
> > >
> > > But weasel-skin purses were, in fact, a real thing.  They were
> > considered lucky, and the superstition held that if you had a weasel skin
> > purse, you would always have at least a little money.  In the 1880s, it
> w=
> as
> > said that, "in Iowa and Missouri such purses are so common as to give the
> > generic name of 'weasel skin' to all manner of receptacles for coin." The
> > Daily Morning Astorian (Oregon, March 4, 1887, page 3.
> > >
> > > It is possible that the original catch-phrase from the song merely
> > related to the popping of one dancer under the arms of a couple, like a
> > weasel popping into its den.  Weasels were said, at times, to "pop" into
> > their dens.  A children's book published in 1850, for example, includes a
> > poem about a child chasing a weasel who "popped" into its den with a
> stol=
> en
> > egg.
> > >
> > > "The Weasel, like thought, popped into his den.  The Boy was too big,
> o=
> r
> > the hole was too small, So for that time escaped they, egg, Weasel and
> al=
> l!"
> > >
> > > The Child's Picture and Verse Book (Commonly called Otto Speckter's
> > Fable Book - translated from German), New York, D. Appleton & Co., 1850,
> > page 196.
> > >
> > > The later use in the "Pop Goes the Weasel" song borrowed from the theme
> > and lyrics of the earlier "that's the way the money goes" song, with the
> > addition of the new tune and catch-phrase from the dance, and with the
> > added bonus of the weasel also being an allusion to a money purse.
> > >
> > > There was also an old idiom that was known at the time, "to catch a
> > weasel asleep", which related to the difficulty of catching a weasel
> > because they were so fast and restless.  And, when a weasel pops into its
> > den, it is even more difficult to catch.
> > >
> > > But whatever the original meaning, it was not necessarily obvious to
> > people at the time, as there were several early references that wondered
> > what the "weasel" was and why it popped.
> > >
> > > ________________________________
> > > From: American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU> on behalf of
> > Robin Hamilton <robin.hamilton3 at VIRGINMEDIA.COM>
> > > Sent: Thursday, March 16, 2017 3:57 AM
> > > To: ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU
> > > Subject: Re: a little more on ejaculatory pop, etc.
> > >
> > > ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> > -----------------------
> > > Sender:      American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> > > Poster:      Robin Hamilton <robin.hamilton3 at VIRGINMEDIA.COM>
> > > Subject:      Re: a little more on ejaculatory pop, etc.
> > > ------------------------------------------------------------
> > -------------------
> > >
> > > An Hypothetical Reconstruction of a Three-Stanza version of =3DE2=3D80=
> =3D9CPop
> > go=3D
> > > es the
> > > weasel=3DE2=3D80=3D9D.
> > >
> > > 1. The Rice:
> > >
> > > Half a pound of tuppenny rice,
> > > Half a pound of treacle,
> > > Mix it up and make it nice,
> > > Pop goes the weasel!
> > >
> > > 2. The Pub
> > >
> > > Up and down the City Road
> > > In and out of the Eagle,
> > > That's the way the money goes,
> > > Pop goes the weasel!
> > >
> > > 3. The Monkey
> > >
> > > Every night when I get home
> > > The monkey's on the table;
> > > Take a stick and knock it off,
> > > Pop goes the weasel!
> > >
> > > NOTES:
> > >
> > > The above could perhaps be described as an tentative core text.
> > >
> > > Stanza 1: Possibly the earliest extension, with the third line
> original=
> ly
> > > reading, =3DE2=3D80=3D9CThat's the way the money goes=3DE2=3D80=3D9D.
> W=
> hen the Rice
> > and=3D
> > >  the Pub stanzas were
> > > brought together, to avoid repetition the original third line in the
> > above
> > > quatrain --  "That's the way the money goes" -- was replaced by,
> > =3DE2=3D80=3D9CM=3D
> > > ix it up and
> > > make it nice.=3DE2=3D80=3D9D
> > >
> > > Stanza 2: Probably originally a free-standing extension of the original
> > > catchphrase, later combined with Stanza 1.
> > >
> > > Stanza 3: The monkey is added later still, and possibly first appears
> i=
> n
> > > America.  Line 1 in that stanza may end either with =3DE2=3D80=3D9Cget
> > home=3DE2=3D80=3D
> > > =3D9D [from the Eagle,
> > > if the stanza occurs by itself] or =3DE2=3D80=3D9Cgo
> out=3DE2=3D80=3D9D=
>  [to the
> > Eagle, =3D
> > > which is the
> > > Necessary Variant when the three stanzas put together in sequence].
> > >
> > > Why no documentation to the above on my part? Well, the Opies in _The
> > Singi=3D
> > > ng
> > > Game_ print the Rice and Monkey stanzas (but not the Pub stanza), but
> > with =3D
> > > no
> > > source citations. A poster in the Mudcat forum
> > > [http://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=3D3D3183] gives the three
> stanza=
> s
> > > more-or-less as I provide them above, citing _Denslow's Mother Goose_
> > (1901=3D
> > > ),
> > > but curse me if I can find them there
> > > [https://www.gutenberg.org/files/18546/18546-h/18546-h.htm].
> > >
> > > Who am I supposed to believe, the Mudcat poster or my lying eyes?
> > >
> > > Anyway, I proffer the above, for what it=3DE2=3D80=3D99s worth, as a
> po=
> ssible
> > sta=3D
> > > rting point
> > > for an exploration of the textual development of the catchphrase,
> > =3DE2=3D80=3D9C=3D
> > > Pop goes the
> > > weasel=3DE2=3D80=3D9D.
> > >
> > > Robin Hamilton, a.k.a. Frustrated In Darlington
> > >
> > >
> > > ------------------------------------------------------------
> > > The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
> >
> > ------------------------------------------------------------
> > The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
> >
>
>
>
> --=20
> "If the truth is half as bad as I think it is, you can't handle the truth."
>
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
>
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
>



-- 
"If the truth is half as bad as I think it is, you can't handle the truth."

------------------------------------------------------------
The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org


   

------------------------------------------------------------
The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org


More information about the Ads-l mailing list