This is an American version of Pop Goes the Weasel. It was first published in 1914 in New York city in this carnation*. Many versions exist. The original dates back to the 1850's and was an old English dance (from about 1853) with the line "Pop Goes the Weasel".

Does the song mean anything? There are many possible theories!

Pop!  Goes the Weasel - American Children's Songs - The USA - Mama Lisa's World: Children's Songs and Rhymes from Around the World  - Intro Image


*According to the book "The American Song Reader" (1997) by William Emmett Studwell.

Here are some more verses sent by Barbara Huet:

Johnny has the whooping cough
Mary has the measles
That's the way the money goes -
Pop! Goes the Weasel!

Every time I go out,
The monkey's on the table,
Take a stick and knock him off -
Pop! Goes the Weasel!

I found evidence of earlier version of the song (not the dance) going back to 1857, in "Bulletin" Volumes 1-4 (1918), by Grosvenor Library, Buffalo:

"'Pop goes the weasel'

This well known expression has come under discussion and an explanation as to its origin, authorship and meaning has been sought. As every one is aware it forms the chorus of an old, popular American song. Extreme difficulty, however, had been experienced in obtaining a copy of the exact, original words in full. These have been found in the Library in one of a series of small, old paper covered volumes, 'Beadle's Dime Song Book, a Collection of New and Popular Comic and Sentimental Songs,' published by Irwin P. Beadle, 137 William Street, New York, the date of the copyright of which is 1857. The words appear in No. 3 of the set:

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

All around the cobbler's bench,
The monkey chased the weasel,
The priest, he kiss'd the cobbler's wife;
Pop went the weasel.

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

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

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

Mayor Wood has put the rum-sellers through
The Maine law's a sad evil,
We cannot get our toddy now;
Pop goes the weasel.

When the whole chorus is read there can be no doubt as to the sense of the line. 'Pop goes the weasel' has the meaning of 'pop off quickly' or 'pop away suddenly' goes or went the weasel…"



MP3: Jason Pomerantz

Here's a fun animation we created for this rhyme.
(Scroll down for the lyrics.)
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Thanks and Acknowledgements

Thanks to Barbara Huet for sending more verses!