(That is, “my boasting like Basilisco has made me a knight, good mother.”)

Basilisk, supposed to kill with its gaze the person who looked on it. Thus Henry VI. says to Suffolk, “Come, basilisk, and kill the innocent gazer with thy sight.”

Natus in ardente Lydiæ basiliscus arena
Vulnerat aspectu, luminibusque nocet.

Basilius, a neighbour of Quiteria, whom he loved from childhood; but when grown up, the father of the lady forbade him the house, and promised Quiteria in marriage to Camacho the richest man of the vicinity. On their way to church they passed Basilius, who had fallen on his sword, and all thought he was at the point of death. He prayed Quiteria to marry him, “for his soul’s peace,” and as it was deemed a mere ceremony, they were married in due form. Up then started the wounded man, and showed that the stabbing was only a ruse, and the blood that of a sheep from the slaughter-house. Camacho gracefully accepted the defeat, and allowed the preparations for the general feast to proceed.

Basilius is strong and active, pitches the bar ad. mirably, wrestles with amazing dexterity, and is an excellent cricketer. He runs like a buck, leaps like a wild goat, and plays at skittles like a wizard. Then he has a fine voice for singing, he touches the guitar so as to make it speak, and handles a foil as well as any fencer in Spain.—Cervantes: Don Quixote, II. ii. 4 (1615).

Baskerville (A), an edition of the New Testament and Latin classics, brought out by John Baskerville, a famous printer (1706–1775).

Basket. Paul escaped from Damascus by being “let down over the wall in a basket” (Acts ix. 25). Caroloscadt, the image-breaker, in 1524, escaped his persecutors at Rotenburg, by “being let down over the wall in a basket.”—Milman: Ecclesiastical History, iv. p. 266.

Basrig or Bagsecg, a Scandinavian king, who with Halden or Halfdene king of Denmark, in 871, made a descent on Wessex. In this year Ethelred fought nine pitched battles with the Danes. The first was the battle of Engle-field, in Berkshire, lost by the Danes; the next was the battle of Reading, won by the Danes; the third was the famous battle of Æscesdun or Ashdune (now Ashton), lost by the Danes, and in which king Bagsecg was slain.

And Ethelred with them [the Dares] nine sundry fields
that fought …
Then Reading ye regained, led by that valiant lord,
Where Basrig ye outbraved, and Halden sword to
   —Drayton: Polyolbion, xii. (1613).

Next year (871) the Danes for the first time entered Wessex. … The first place they came to was Reading.…Nine great battles, besides smaller skirmishes, were fought this year, in some of which the English won, and In others the Danes. First, alderman Æthelwulf fought the Danes at Englefield, and beat them. Four days after that there was another battle at Reading … where the Danes had the better of it, andÆthelwuf was killed. Four davs afterwards there was another more famous battle st Æscesdun … and king Ætheldred fought against the two kings, and slew Bagsecg with his own hand.—E. A. Freeman: Old English History (1869). See Asser: Life of Alfred (ninth century).

Bassanio. the lover of Portia, successful in his choice of the three caskets, which awarded her to him as wife. It was for Bassanio that his friend Antonio borrowed 3000 ducats of the Jew Shylock, on the strange condition that if he returned the loan within three months no interest should be required, but if not, the Jew might claim a pound of Antonio’s flesh for forfeiture.—Shakespeare: Merchant of Venice (1598).

Basset (Count), a swindler and forger, who assumed the title of “count” to further his dishonest practices.—C. Cibber: The Provoked Husband (1728).

  By PanEris using Melati.

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