Bertram, one of the conspirators against the republic of Venice. Having “a hesitating softness, fatal to a great enterprise,” he betrayed the conspiracy to the senate.—Byron: Marino Faliero (1819).

Bertramo, the fiend-father of Robert le Diable. After alluring his son to gambl e away all his property, he met him near St. Irenê, and Helena seduced him to join in “the Dance of Love.” When at last Bertramo came to claim his victim, he was resisted by Alice (the duke’s foster-sister), who read to Robert his mother’s will. Being thus reclaimed, angels celebrated the triumph of good over evil.—Meyerbeer: Roberto il Diavolo (an opera, 1831).

Bertrand, a simpleton and a villain. He is the accomplice of Robert Macaire, a libertine of unblushing impudence, who sins without compunction.—Daumier: L’Auberge des Adrets.

Bertrand du Gueslin, a romance of chivalry, reciting the adventures of this connetable de France, in the reign of Charles V.

Bertrand du Gueslin in prison. The prince of Wales went to visit his captive Bertrand; and, asking him how he fared, the Frenchman replied, “Sir, I have heard the mice and the rats this many a day, but it is long since I heard the song of birds,” i.e. I have been long a captive and have not breathed the fresh air.

The reply of Bertrand du Gueslin brings to mind that of Douglas, called “The Good sir James,” the companion of Robert Bruce, “It is better, I ween, to hear the lark sing than the mouse cheep,” i.e. It is better to keep the open field than to be shut up in a castle.

Bertulphe, provost of Bruges, the son of a serf. By his genius and energy he became the richest, most honoured, and most powerful man in Bruges. His arm was strong in fight, his wisdom swayed the council, his step was proud, and his eye untamed. Bertulphe had one child, the bride of sir Bouchard, a knight of noble descent. Now, Charles “the Good,” earl of Flanders, had made a law (1127) that whoever married a serf should become a serf, and that serfs were serfs till manumission. By these absurd decrees Bertulphe the provost, his daughter Constance, and his knightly son-in-law were all serfs. The result was that the provost slew the earl and then himself; his daughter went mad and died; and Bouchard was slain in fight.—Knowles: The Provost of Bruges (1836).

Berwine, the favourite attendant of lady Ermengarde of Baldringham, great-aunt of lady Eveline “the betrothed.”—Sir W. Scott: The Betrothed (time, Henry II.).

Beryl, a kind of crystal, much used at one time by fortune-tellers, who looked into the beryl and then uttered their predictions.

… and, like a prophet,
Looks in a glass that shews what future evils …
Are now to have no successive degree,
But where they live, to end.
   —Shakespeare: Measure for Measure, act i. sc. 2 (1603).

Beryl Molozane, the ladylove of George Geith. All beauty, love, and sunshine. She has a heart for every one, is ready to help every one, and is by every one beloved; yet her lot is most painfully unhappy, and ends in an early death.—F. G. Trafford [Mrs. Riddell]: George Geith (1864).

Besieger (The), Demetrius Policrates , king of Macedon (died B.C. 522).

Since the days of Demetrius Policratês, no man had besieged so many cities.—Motley: The Dutch Republic, pt. iii. 1.

Besonian (A), a scoundrel. From the Italian, bisognoso, “a needy person, a beggar.”

Proud lords do tumble from the towers of their high descents; and be trod under feet of every inferior besonian.—Thomas Nash: Pierce Pennylesse, his Supplication, etc. (1592).

  By PanEris using Melati.

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