"Mullins, Bill" <Bill.Mullins at US.ARMY.MIL>

Mark A. Mandel mamandel at LDC.UPENN.EDU
Tue Jun 22 19:48:45 UTC 2004

"Mullins, Bill" <Bill.Mullins at US.ARMY.MIL> wrote:

As a new subscriber, I was looking through the archives.  From Thu, 25
May 2000:

> Do others have hard evidence for busk in the US?  More than just
> personal knowledge of the term (which can be misleading)?

>>From the magic/conjuring periodical _The New Phoenix_ #330 Oct 1955.

"Jardine Ellis was a sort of busking magician.  He would go to
some cafeteria in the afternoon and look for a likely prospect."

An electronic search also found "buskin":  "Frank Garcia back in the
magic fold again picking up the magic wand and doffing the buskin."
(_The Phoenix_ #253 18 April 1952)

These are two different words. Busking is performing on the street or in
public, usually for whatever money passersby may give you. To doff the
buskin is to leave the stage; see the following from Oxford English
Dictionary Online:

2. spec. The high thick-soled boot (cothurnus) worn by the actors in ancient
Athenian tragedy; frequently contrasted with the ‘sock’ (soccus), or low
shoe worn by comedians.

1570 LEVINS Manip. 133 A Buskin, cothurnus. 1597 BP. HALL Sat. I. i. 19
Trumpet, and reeds, and socks, and buskins fine. 1663 BP. PATRICK Parab.
Pilgr. xxxiv. (1668) 262 The Play is ended, and the high-heel'd Buskins are
pull'd off. 1763 J. BROWN Poetry & Mus. vi. 119 The Buskin..hightened the
Stature. 1871 MORLEY Crit. Misc. (1886) I. 127 Doff the buskin or the sock,
wash away the paint from their cheeks, and gravely sit down to meat.

b. Hence fig. and transf. The style or spirit of this class of drama; the
tragic vein; tragedy. to put on the buskins: to assume a tragic style; to
write tragedy.

-- Mark A. Mandel
[This text prepared with Dragon NaturallySpeaking.]

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