"Pop! Goes the Weasel" is a well-known nursery rhyme, which is often enjoyed by the kids and young children as a singing game. The melody is usually played in the jack-in-the-box (children's box). It is believed that the rhyme has been played as a singing game since the late nineteenth century in Britain. Various theories have been advanced to explain the meaning and origin of this joyful nursery rhyme.
Origin of The Rhyme
Like many other nursery rhymes, different theories are associated with the origin of "Pop! Goes the Weasel". The nursery rhymes are described as "An Old English Dance, as performed at Her Majesty's & The Nobilities Balls, with the Original Music" in a music sheet which was found by the British Library in 1853. The dance gained popularity and was performed on stage and dance halls as well. A Melody of the song is very similar to the contemporary tune.
American Versions of The Song
The song was familiar to people of America in the 1850s, where the song was called as "the latest English dance" in the U.S. newspapers and the phrase "Pop! Goes the weasel" took a stronghold in the country. There are several American versions as published in Vance Randolph, Ozark Folksongs, and many more. As lyrics to the song was not stable in Britain, thus words are significantly different in some of the U.S. versions. However, all the versions are sung in the same tune.
Words in every version of the song are different, thus, making it difficult to explain the exact meaning. The phrase "Pop! Goes the weasel" has different meanings including a dead weasel, a tailor's flat iron, a hatter's tool, a piece of silver plate, a spinner's weasel used for measurement in spinning and many more.
The "Eagle" in the third verse of the song refers to 'The Eagle' freehold pub at the corner of Shepherdess Walk and City Road, London.
Singing game for kids
"Pop! Goes the Weasel" is not only one of the popular nursery rhymes but also kids' favorite singing games
. It is being played as a singing game since the 19th century. In Britain, the young children form rings and then they dance around. One player more than the number of rings plays a role of "weasels". At the end line ("Pop! Goes the Weasel") of the verse, players run to join a new ring before anyone else can. And the one who fails to join the ring is eliminated and the number of circles is reduced by one until only one "weasel" is left.
In America, "Pop! Goes the Weasel" is enjoyed as a game of musical circle. A row of chairs is set up, one less chair than the players. Then the song is played and players circle the row of chairs. As the music stops, kids vie for the available chairs and one who fails is "out".
So, kids don't just sing or recite "Pop! Goes the Weasel" nursery rhyme but also play your favorite singing game. It's fun, entertaining and best to enjoy during leisure hours!