[Ads-l] Pop goes the weasel

Robin Hamilton robin.hamilton3 at VIRGINMEDIA.COM
Sat Mar 18 18:48:45 EDT 2017

Nicely dated American example, Peter.  The monkey (or dog) chasing the weasel
seems to be peculiarly American, following on from (does the dating hold?) the
monkey knocked off/on the table.

I suspect here an attempt to produce something which made more rational sense
than the tabled monkey, with a monkey earlier chasing the weasel round a
mulberry bush echoing the already existing nursery rhyme beginning, "Here we go
round the mulberry bush ... On a cold and frosty morning."  It makes more sense
to me that the sequence would have a monkey turned into a dog, and a mulberry
bush (in this context)  transformed into a bramble bush, than vice versa.
 Unless, to the American ear, the bramble bush immediately conjures up Joel
Chandler Harris's (re)telling of Brer Rabbit -- "Don't throw me into the briar
patch, Brer Fox!"

Also, "The dog chased the weasel" doesn't (to my ear) scan as well in context as
"The monkey chased the weasel".  To put it more simply, it violates the metrical
norm of the Dipodic Meter so characteristic of nursery rhymes and ballads and
the poetry of John Crowe Ransom.

Iona and Peter Opie, _The Singing Game_, p. 289, note that a variant (1849) of
"Here we go round the mulberry bush bush" has a bramble bush instead.
 Unfortunately, they don't give a source citation for this.  Maybe in their _The
Oxford Nursery Rhyme Book_ ...  I'm hoping to get a copy of that come Monday.
 They  have a note in the second edition of _The Oxford Dictionary of Nursery
Rhymes_ (1951; 2nd ed. 1997) that ONRB was in many ways a continuation and
expansion of ODNR.

However ... 1858 for the version below puts it (relatively) close to the
beginnings of the development of “Pop goes the weasel” into quatrain form, and
possibly earlier than any dated version of  "Round and round the mulberry bush /
The monkey chased the weasel ...".

Anyone have access to a complete list of the songs included under Roud Folk Song
Index number 5249?  At least two (this via the Bodleian Ballads site) have songs
which simply refer to "Pop goes the weasel":

     Title: Pop goes the weasel! / First Line: Now all the girls are going mad
     Title: Pop goes the weasel / First Line: Some time ago the people said, the
English sports were dying

Robin Hamilton

PS -- Peter, I can't manage to locate the song you refer to in an earlier post,
'... "That's the Way the Money Goes" (sometimes "That's How the Money Goes")
...' -- help?  R.

PS2 -- If we're collecting Lunatic Interpretations, can anyone beat the one that
argues that "monkey" is rhyming slang for £500, and once we understand that,
everything makes sense.  I especially admire this version since "monkey" (also
"pony" and "gorilla") aren't rhyming slang but betting (specifically
horse-racing) jargon, and were only ever current in England and Australia.

PS3 ... not to speak of the suggestion, never to my knowledge proffered before,
that the catchphrase alludes to the Traditional English (mostly Yorkshire) Game
of Ferret-legging -- "Is that a ferret down your trousers, or have you just
popped a weasel?"  Same genus, simply different species, thus easily conflated.

R (enough)

>     On 18 March 2017 at 20:33 Peter Reitan <pjreitan at HOTMAIL.COM> wrote:
>     Alternate version from 1858 with a dog chasing a weasel around a bramble
> bush, instead of a monkey around a mulberry bush.
>     "All around the bramble bush,
>     The dog chased the weasel,
>     The deacon kissed the Parson's wife,
>     Pop goes the weasel."
>     The Indiana Herald, 15 Dec 1858, Page 2. Newspapers.com.
>     ------------------------------------------------------------
>     The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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

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