Brit version

Posted by David FG on November 01, 2004

In Reply to: Brit version posted by Lewis on November 01, 2004

: : : : : Is it not more likely that this phrase is derived from "weasel & stoat" - coat? You would be more likely to pawn a coat in mild weather, then redeem it in the winter.

: : : : Here's what William and Mary say:

: : : : POP GOES THE WEASEL! - "From earliest childhood we remember with fondness the nonsense rhyme about the monkey and the weasel. Remember? 'Every night when I come home, The Monkey's on the table. I take a stick and knock him off. And Pop goes the Weasel!' Here is the background of the original, and far different, British version of this rhyme - which turns out to be not such nonsense after all. It runs: 'Up and down the City Road, In and out the Eagle, That's the way the money goes. Pop goes the weasel.' And would you believe that the whole silly rhyme started with some drunken London hatters, the kind that today's sociologists would label 'compulsive drinkers'? True. And here's the explanation. The City Road was a street in London where there was a much-liked tavern ('pub' in England, of course) called The Eagle. To it on Saturday nights, and maybe oftener, went many a hatmaker. If he was short of funds, as often happened, he pawned ('popped') his weasel (a hatmaker's tool). So there you have, unmasked, the sordid truth behind that simple nursery rhyme." From Morris Dictionary of Word and Phrase Origins by William and Mary Morris (HarperCollins, New York, 1977, 1988).
: : : :

: : : Monkeys and sticks? City Road and Eagles? The version I remember from my UK childhood was:-

: : : Half a pound of tupenny rice
: : : Half a pound of treacle
: : : Mix it up and make it nice
: : : Pop goes the weasel

: : I certainly know the Eagle version, which is pretty certainly the correct one. However, I do remember my childhood version - very similar to the one above. It went:
: : : Half a pound of tupenny rice
: : : Half a pound of treacle
: : : That's the way the money goes
: : : Pop goes the weasel

: I've just realised the implication - rice is a grain and treacle is a sugar product - put them together and you can brew. it would probably be a bit cloying, but strong. perhaps what the hatters drank was made from rice and treacle?
: anybody know?

Never thought of that, but I very much doubt it. To the best of my knowledge no drink has ever been brewed in commercial quantities in the UK from rice. It would be very unlikely, I think, that it would have been on sale in a London pub even if some back-street brewer had produced such a concoction!