[Ads-l] Query: Slang "insect promenade"

Jesse Sheidlower jester at PANIX.COM
Fri Jan 20 10:12:04 EST 2017


This may be a bit of a stretch, but I'm thinking of the tendency for using overly formal expressions for humorous exaggeration (e.g. "intestinal fortitude" = "guts"). 

So "insect promenade" could be a fancy way of saying "bug walk". Not entirely sure how you get from that to 'face' or 'head' (which would clearly seem to be the intended meaning, as Robin says); I note that GDoS shows a purported late-19th-C use of _bugwalk_ meaning 'a parting of the hair', which could be relevant. 

Jesse Sheidlower

On Fri, Jan 20, 2017 at 02:48:48PM +0000, Robin Hamilton wrote:
> The reference would seem to be to the speaker's face:  anglice, "I closed my
> eyes in my face".  But how you get from "insect promenade" to "face" beats me.
> 
> A further problem is that while the poem mostly plays on rhyming slang, one or
> two items are Cant, or simply slang -- booze, do a bunk, give the office,
> flimsy, mug -- so whether "insect promenade" is playing off against rhyming
> slang or some other register is an issue.
> 
> I'm tempted by "Lambeth Walk", but that's anachronistic.
> 
> Malapropism, allusion, pun, or rhyming slang?  You pays your money ...  Farmer
> obviously couldn't fathom it, otherwise he'd have glossed it himself.  He
> glosses many more-transparent items in the lyric.
> 
> Farmer's source in Musa Pedestris is cited as: "The Rhyme of the Rusher // 1892
> // By Doss Chiderdoss in Sporting Times, 29 Oct. In Appropriate Rhyming
> Slanguage," but it's possible that this is reprinted from Guy Fawkes, Esq.,
> performed at the Gaiety Theatre in 1890, with Lyrics by Doss Childerdoss:
> 
> J. P. Wearing, The London Stage 1890-1899: A Calendar of Productions,
> Performers, and Personnel, p. 32
>                    https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=nF8pAgAAQBAJ
> 
> But appearance of "Doss Childerdoss" in Guy Fawkes may itself be a reference to
> the Sporting Times.  This snippet from google books:
> 
> "The hey-day of rhyming slang was probably just before the turn of the century.
> Then the Sporting Times--the world famous Pink 'Un used to regularly feature
> examples of verse in rhyming slang by 'Doss Childerdoss' ..."
> 
> https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=WulJAAAAIAAJ&q=%22sporting+times%22+Childerdoss&dq=%22sporting+times%22+Childerdoss&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjJi52C-dDRAhWBDMAKHcFLB4EQ6AEIJDAA
> 
> Robin Hamilton
> 
> > 
> >     On 20 January 2017 at 02:13 ADSGarson O'Toole <adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM>
> > wrote:
> > 
> > 
> >     Gerald: You have probably seen this, but it might be interesting to
> >     other readers. John Stephen Farmer carefully annotated the poem, but,
> >     oddly, he did not provide an annotation for "insect promenade".
> > 
> >     Year: 1896
> >     Title: Musa Pedestris: Three Centuries of Canting Songs and Slang
> >     Rhymes (1536-1896)
> >     Author: John Stephen Farmer
> > 
> >     https://books.google.com/books?id=_zM1AQAAIAAJ&q=promenade#v=snippet&
> > 
> >     Below is a rhyming slang interpretation for "insects" but it does not
> >     work well for the singular "insect", and it may be irrelevant.
> > 
> >     Year: 2015
> >     Title: Little Book of Cockney Rhyming Slang
> >     Author: Sid Finch
> > 
> >     [Begin excerpt]
> >     Insects and Ants – Underpants.
> >     [End excerpt]
> > 
> >     Garson
> > 
> > 
> >     On Thu, Jan 19, 2017 at 7:36 PM, Cohen, Gerald Leonard <gcohen at mst.edu>
> > wrote:
> >     > A poem titled "The Rhyme of the Rusher" (1892) is marked by rhyming
> >     > slang
> >     >
> >     > and cant. One particular item is unclear to me: "insect promenade." What
> >     > in
> >     >
> >     > the world does that mean?
> >     >
> >     >
> >     > The relevant lines are (and btw, mince pies = eyes]:
> >     >
> >     > And I smiled as I closed my two mince pies
> >     >
> >     > In my insect promenade.
> >     >
> >     >
> >     > Any help would be much appreciated.
> >     >
> >     >
> >     > Gerald Cohen
> >     >
> >     > ------------------------------------------------------------
> >     > The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
> > 
> >     ------------------------------------------------------------
> >     The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
> >
> 
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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