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Besom   Listen
noun
Besom  n.  A brush of twigs for sweeping; a broom; anything which sweeps away or destroys. (Archaic or Fig.) "I will sweep it with the besom of destruction." "The housemaid with her besom."






Collaborative International Dictionary of English 0.48








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"Besom" Quotes from Famous Books



... unclean pavements, its extremities were within earshot of the blasphemies from some of the vilest quarters and filthiest rookeries in the capital of the civilized world. Some of these clotted spiders'-webs have since been swept away by the besom of the social reformer, and the spiders have ...
— Children of the Ghetto • I. Zangwill

... his wheel fly in a sort of frenzy of disgust, but the fresh wind, sweeping his hot face like the besom of peace, soon drove away this temporary chagrin, bringing to him the best comfort life gave in those days—the gentle influence of Nature. For, just in proportion as Dan shunned humanity he courted her, and though he felt her relentlessness through ...
— Joyce's Investments - A Story for Girls • Fannie E. Newberry

... hand held manna to scatter. Now, as Ikey entered, McMahan stood, flushed and triumphant and mighty, the centre of a huzzaing concourse of his lieutenants and constituents. It seems there had been an election; a signal victory had been won; the city had been swept back into line by a resistless besom ...
— The Trimmed Lamp • O. Henry

... an office-bearer, but is distinctly determined in the making of the tabernacle; there is not a tackle, nor the quantity of it, not a curtain, nor the colour thereof, not a snuffer, nor a candlestick, nor a besom that sweeps away the filth, nor an ash-pan that keepeth the ashes, but all are particularly set down; yet, ye will not get a bishop, nor an archbishop, nor this metropolitan, nor that great and cathedral man, no not within all the Bible. The Lord pity them; for indeed ...
— The Covenants And The Covenanters - Covenants, Sermons, and Documents of the Covenanted Reformation • Various

... converging stream and then immediately narrows again, no outlet save the constricted waterway. High above stands a great lake which is held in check only by an artificial barrier, and which, if once unchained, must pour its resistless torrent through this narrow gorge like a besom of destruction overwhelming everything before it. There were all the elements of an unparalleled disaster. Years of immunity had given a feeling of security for all time without some extraordinary and unexpected occasion. But the occasion appeared ...
— The Johnstown Horror • James Herbert Walker

... whiff of Naseby, that would sweep, With its stern Puritan besom, all this chaff From the Lord's threshing-floor! Yet more than half The victory is attained, when one or two, Through the fool's laughter and the traitor's scorn, Beside thy sepulchre can bide the morn, Crucified Truth, ...
— The Complete Poetical Works of James Russell Lowell • James Lowell

... shown to any nation; that a great and rich country like this should be preserved for eight hundred years from invasion of foreign armies, and all the horrors and miseries of war, which have swept, from time to time, every other nation in the world with the besom of desolation. ...
— Sermons on National Subjects • Charles Kingsley

... get to the bottom of this," said Tommy, rising, "and as you are too great a coward, Corp, to tell the truth with that shameless woman glowering at you, out you go, Gavinia, and take your disgraced bairn with you. Do as you are told, you besom, for I ...
— Tommy and Grizel • J.M. Barrie

... dearie?" he said. "I don't stand in need of hedge-stealings. I'm a freeholder, with money in the bank; and now I won't trust women no more! Silly old besom! I do beleft she'd ha' stole the Squire's big ...
— Rewards and Fairies • Rudyard Kipling

... with a sort of instinctive caution, turned the key when I closed the door. I soon calmed down, therefore, into a state of tranquillity; from that into a drowsiness, and finally into a deep sleep; out of which I did not awake, until the housemaid, with her besom and her matin song, came to put the room in order. She stared at finding me stretched upon the sofa; but I presume circumstances of the kind were not uncommon after hunting dinners, in her master's bachelor establishment; ...
— Tales of a Traveller • Washington Irving

... time, and a long time too, when the whole state was entirely at their feet,) had they then said to us, "We are far richer, far stronger, than you; we can easily burn your houses, take your provisions, carry off your cattle, and sweep your country with the besom of destruction; but we abhor the idea. Your houses, your women, your children, are all sacred in our eyes; and even of your goods we will touch nothing without giving you a reasonable price." Had they but said this, ...
— The Life of General Francis Marion • Mason Locke Weems

... choose to think he did, reasoning backward from the assumed fulfilment! But perhaps there may be detected in Mr. Masson's "swept its arcs" a little of that prophetic hedging-in vagueness to which he allows so generous a latitude. How if the "two-handed engine," after all, were a broom (or besom, to be more dignified), ...
— Among My Books • James Russell Lowell

... palasa is trident-leaved." We have already pointed out, too, how the red colour of a flower, as in the case of the berries of the mountain-ash, was apparently sufficient to determine the association of ideas. The Swiss name for mistletoe, donnerbesen, "thunder besom," illustrates its divine origin, on account of which it was supposed to protect the homestead from fire, and hence in Sweden it has long been suspended in farm-houses, like the mountain-ash in Scotland. But its virtues ...
— The Folk-lore of Plants • T. F. Thiselton-Dyer

... mists beyond a bell That hide veiled shadows of a peak Above the stationed domes of red, Augueries of a marching pair,— Twin demons of unconquered Hell! Spell visions that the soffins leak That felt the besom of the dead, Just as the Twilight's scarlet urn Is seen from heights unfathomed, strong. There runnels of green waters cold, Toss lepers from their murky breast; There venom-oils and tapers burn To light the way of souls gone wrong,— Blood-stained each idol's ...
— Betelguese - A Trip Through Hell • Jean Louis de Esque

... opponents of change. I am a Radical; and, what is more, I am not a Radical with a title, or a French cook, or even an entrance into fine society. I expect great changes, and I desire them. But I don't expect them to come in a hurry, by mere inconsiderate sweeping. A Hercules with a big besom is a fine thing for a filthy stable, but not for weeding a seed-bed, where his besom would ...
— The Essays of "George Eliot" - Complete • George Eliot

... but you're mista'en. You're a thrawn limmer, that's what you are. You think you have blood in you. You hae blood! Gae away, and dinna blether. I tell you what, Catlaw, I met a man yestreen that kent your mither, and he says she was a feikie fushionless besom. What do ...
— The Little Minister • J.M. Barrie

... obtain if they harboured such an infamous sinner? So his Grace wonders much over the daring of the harlot; for he had given her no proebenda, though she was writing to him constantly requesting one. Nor would he ever think of giving her one; for why should he send such a hell-besom to sweep the pious convent of Marienfliess? The good abbess might rise up, for as long as he lived Sidonia should ...
— Sidonia The Sorceress V1 • William Mienhold

... BROOM. A besom at the mast-head signifies that the ship is to be sold: derived probably from the old practice of displaying boughs at shops and taverns. Also, a sort of spartium, of ...
— The Sailor's Word-Book • William Henry Smyth

... last obeyed the spur, and he rode on and into the city, the gates of which were deserted. There he beheld on all sides that the Lord had indeed put the besom of destruction into the hands of the Reformers; and that not one of all the buildings which had been polluted by the papistry—no, not one—had escaped the erasing fierceness of its ruinous sweep. The presence of the magistrates lent the grace of authority ...
— Ringan Gilhaize - or The Covenanters • John Galt

... the light and wind of Heaven shining and blowing clear and fresh and sweet through all its chambers. Better so, than have a hurricane from God burst in doors and windows, and sweep from his temple with the besom of destruction every thing that loveth and maketh a lie. Brothers, sisters, let us be clean. The light and the air around us are God's vast purifying furnace; out into it let us cast all hypocrisy. ...
— Paul Faber, Surgeon • George MacDonald

... had been appropriated, for war spares nothing. Some of the frightened people of the village were returning as we passed through, and were sadly lamenting the destruction of almost everything that could be destroyed on and about their homes by this besom of destruction,—war. Food, stock, fences, bed and bedding, etc., all gone or destroyed. Some of the houses had been perforated by the shells,—probably our own shells, aimed at the enemy. One man told me a shell had entered his house and landed on the ...
— War from the Inside • Frederick L. (Frederick Lyman) Hitchcock

... her madness,' quoth the viscountess piously. 'She may yet. And I would rather give you a bit of a living to marry her—ay, I would, Thomasson—than be saddled with such a besom!' ...
— The Castle Inn • Stanley John Weyman

... slowly, for a blanket of mist covers the earth. It is so cold that the men dare not sit down during the halts, though overborne by weariness, and they pace to and fro in the damp obscurity like ghosts. The besom of a biting wintry wind whips our skin, sweeps away and scatters our ...
— Under Fire - The Story of a Squad • Henri Barbusse

... than a quarter of an acre of land, if they would get relief. Under the dire instigation of hunger, in the stupor and recklessness of their misery, they accepted any terms the landlords chose to impose, and so whole villages disappeared from the landscape, swept off with the besom of destruction. ...
— The Land-War In Ireland (1870) - A History For The Times • James Godkin

... Southern Land—for its sunshine, its verdure, its forests, its flowers, its perfume; but oh! above all, for the loving, refined, intelligent, gentle race of people it was my great, my priceless privilege, to be born amongst—a people worthy to live with, yes, worthy to die for! The stern besom of war has wept over you, beloved Natchez—your fairest homes have been desolated, your lovely gardens are now only remembrances—your family circles are broken up—your bravest sons are sleeping in the dust of death, or weeping tears of bitterness in exile—your daughters, bowed down ...
— Choice Specimens of American Literature, And Literary Reader - Being Selections from the Chief American Writers • Benj. N. Martin

... commend my soul to God, making sure that the breath He gave would go out on the wings of the first gust that should come to drive the fiery veil inward. But when the gust came it was from behind; a sweeping besom to beat down the leaping dragons' tongues; a pouring flood of blessed coolness to turn the ebbing life-tide and to set the dulled senses once ...
— The Master of Appleby • Francis Lynde

... the besom and began to tear off its twigs. Then she stripped the boy of his light clothes. Still wrapt in his radiant sadness, Egorka looked at his mother with astonished ...
— The Created Legend • Feodor Sologub

... to it. Be good enough to vanish. Permit yourself to be swept quietly into the dunghill. All that there was about you of value has departed from you; and allow me to say that you are now—rubbish." And then the ruthless besom comes with irresistible rush, and the rubbish is swept into the pit, there to be hidden for ever from the sight. And the pity of it is this—that a man, if he will only restrain his greed, may eat his cake and yet have it; aye, and in so doing will ...
— Framley Parsonage • Anthony Trollope

... in consequence, an immediate concentration to resist an attack was made in the vicinity, where we were. It was none too soon, as Hood, upon taking command immediately moved out to Decatur with nearly his entire army, fell upon McPherson's corps, with the besom of destruction, killing the gallant McPherson early in the engagement, and with his vastly superior force, beating back the Army of the Tennessee so fast, that there is no telling what might have happened, had we not made the concentration ...
— Personal recollections and experiences concerning the Battle of Stone River • Milo S. Hascall

... prolix on the subject of knightly honor, but I had good reason for being so, because the Augean stable of moral and intellectual enormity in this world can be cleaned out only with the besom of philosophy. There are two things which more than all else serve to make the social arrangements of modern life compare unfavorably with those of antiquity, by giving our age a gloomy, dark and sinister aspect, from which antiquity, fresh, natural and, as it ...
— The Essays Of Arthur Schopenhauer: The Wisdom of Life • Arthur Schopenhauer

... "Besom." And he was not at all ashamed, for a Scot never uses this word without a ring of fondness and admiration in his voice, as of one who gives the world to understand that he quite disapproves of this audacious woman, wife or daughter of his, but is proud of her all the time. It is indeed a necessity ...
— Kate Carnegie and Those Ministers • Ian Maclaren

... the Palais, you trod the natural soil of Paris, augmented by importations brought in upon the boots of foot passengers; here, at all seasons, you stumbled among hills and hollows of dried mud swept daily by the shopman's besom, and only after some practice could you walk at your ease. The treacherous mud-heaps, the window-panes incrusted with deposits of dust and rain, the mean-looking hovels covered with ragged placards, ...
— Lost Illusions • Honore De Balzac

... gone; there were no fragments, for the wind was a clean sweeper; it had bodily vanished. The walls stood. He dragged himself unsteadily to his feet, and looked about for his spade. It was nowhere to be seen; the besom of the gale had whirled it to some ...
— A Loose End and Other Stories • S. Elizabeth Hall

... had probably been a kind of fagot of brushwood,—ramazza, or a besom, not much unlike the rapid locomotive of witches, who were called in old times ramassieres, from their supposed practice of riding on a ramee, ramasse, or besom. At the present time even, it occasionally occurs that an adventurous ...
— Notes and Queries, Number 79, May 3, 1851 • Various

... sentimentalist; both believed as heartily as did Wentworth in later years that the word of the hour was Thorough. They started with their armies from Antioch in March, 67, resolved on sweeping Palestine with the besom of destruction. Cities and villages, one by one, were besieged, captured, destroyed; men, women, and children were indiscriminately massacred. The Jewish army fought every inch of the ground like tigers; but they were overpowered and beaten in ...
— Who Wrote the Bible? • Washington Gladden

... a sudden night-storm tore The mountain veils asunder, And swept the valleys clean before The besom of the thunder. ...
— The Complete Works of Whittier - The Standard Library Edition with a linked Index • John Greenleaf Whittier

... are, but with another sort of madness, quite a new kind. The livelong day he looks open-mouthed towards heaven and never stops addressing Zeus. "Ah! Zeus," he cries, "what are thy intentions? Lay aside thy besom; ...
— Peace • Aristophanes

... cheery little study, where the sunshine glimmered so pleasantly through the willow branches on the western side of the Old Manse. But now, should you go thither to seek him, you would inquire in vain for the Locofoco Surveyor. The besom of reform hath swept him out of office, and a worthier successor wears his dignity ...
— The Scarlet Letter • Nathaniel Hawthorne

... concerning religion, either in Scotland or here, albeit we have often set down mensura voti to ourselves; but he has as often moved us step after step to trace back our defections, and make the last innovations a besom to sweep out the former, and the king refused to be a mean to engage in a covenant with himself and others, and so has drawn us, against our wills, and beyond our desires, to perform our duty, and to give a testimony to his truth, that much of God and divine wisdom and design, ...
— Biographia Scoticana (Scots Worthies) • John Howie

... "Harold's besom sweeps clean," answered Godrith, smiling. "But thou art like, perhaps, to be in at the death. We have driven this Welch lion to bay at last. He is ours, or grim Famine's. Look yonder;" and Godrith pointed to the heights of Penmaen-mawr. "Even at this distance, you may yet ...
— Harold, Complete - The Last Of The Saxon Kings • Edward Bulwer-Lytton

... city; but an awful burning rose, afar as it were in the darkness, and the flames stood like a tower of fire that reached unto the heavens. And I saw a dreadful hand and an arm stretched from out of the cloud, and in its hold was a besom made of the hail and the storm, and it swept the fugitives like dust; and in their place I saw the churchyard, as it were, cleared and spread around, the graves closed, and the ancient tombs, with their coats-of-arms ...
— The Annals of the Parish • John Galt

... overtaken by Mr. M'Nab, the minister who in his white manse dwelt by the white kirk on the top of the windy hill. This was, by every earthly canon, a good man, but a stern and unsupple. He had not been long in this parish, and he was sweeping with a strong, new besom. The old minister, to his mind, had been Erastian and lax, weak in doctrine and in discipline of the fold. Mr. M'Nab meant not to be weak. He loathed sin and would compel the sinner also to loathe it. Now he came ...
— Foes • Mary Johnston

... gone forth in solemn might to shake The peoples of the earth, Through the long shadow and the fires that make New altar and new hearth! And with the besom of red war He sweeps The sin and woe away, To purge with fountains from His ancient deeps The dust of old decay. O not in anger but in Love He speaks From tempest round Him drawn, Unveiling thus the fair white mountain peaks Which ...
— Successful Recitations • Various

... Senior Executor.—Douglas Fraser, Junior Executor." The cablegram was dated from Milan, for two keen Scottish brains were now busied with plans to save and care for the worldly gear so suddenly abandoned to their care by Hugh Johnstone. Though Delhi was swept as with a besom, no trace of the cowardly assassins was ever found, and only old Simpson, waiting, in final charge as household major domo for Douglas Fraser's arrival, could enlighten the perturbed commanding General with certain vague suspicions. But Ram Lal slept now ...
— A Fascinating Traitor • Richard Henry Savage

... their Mahomet Saviour as Christians had for Christ? What if all we believed in should be but 'a think-so' too?" So powerful and so real were his illusions that he had hard work to keep himself from praying to things about him, to "a bush, a bull, a besom, or the like," or even to Satan himself. He heard voices behind him crying out that Satan desired to have him, and that "so loud and plain that he would turn his head to see who was calling him;" when on ...
— The Life of John Bunyan • Edmund Venables

... one of a young boy. Good tea at Tetsworth: amused ourselves next morning reading like ladies, and watching from our gazabo window the arrival and departure of twelve stage-coaches, any one of which would have been a study for Wilkie, besides the rubbing down of a horse with a besom: at first we thought the horse would have been affronted—no, quite agreeable. The dried flakes of yellow mud, first besomed and then brushed, raised such a dust, that in the dust, ...
— The Life and Letters of Maria Edgeworth, Vol. 2 • Maria Edgeworth

... paper-bag, piece of newspaper and hand-bill, and they have no individual sequence, they belong more to the mechanical arrangements than to the vital consequence of our existence. And the same with most dreams. They are the heterogeneous odds and ends of images swept together accidentally by the besom of the night-current, and it is beneath our dignity to attach any real importance to them. It is always beneath our dignity to go degrading the integrity of the individual soul by cringing and scraping among the rag-tag ...
— Fantasia of the Unconscious • D. H. Lawrence

... indeed! "Making Ossa like a wart." Yet the rubbish must be removed; and it is mine and every man's duty to handle the spade and besom. But men want to work miracles; and, because the mountain does not vanish at a word, they rashly conclude it cannot be diminished. They are mistaken. Political error is a pestilential cloud; dense with mephitic ...
— The Adventures of Hugh Trevor • Thomas Holcroft

... cushat, cushat, callynge lowe, Goe waken Time from sleepe: Goe whysper in his ear, that soe His besom sweepe Me to that heape Where all ...
— Green Bays. Verses and Parodies • Arthur Thomas Quiller-Couch

... say to Sidney Rigdon and Elias Higbee when they laid our cause before him at Washington after our Missouri persecutions—when the wicked hatred of them Missourians had as a besom of fire swept before it into exile the whipped and plundered Saints of Jackson County? Well, he said: 'Gentlemen, your cause is just, but I can do nothing for you.' That's what a President of the United States said to descendants ...
— The Lions of the Lord - A Tale of the Old West • Harry Leon Wilson

... of God might not drown. Conquered lies unconquered Agamemnon; how else lies Julius Caesar? Nabuchodonosor, eater of grass, what is he? Kings pass, and their royal seat gathereth a little dust. Anon with a besom of feathers cometh. Time the chamberlain, and scareth to his hiding-place the lizard on the wall. Think soberly, O ye kings! how your crowns are but yellow metal, and your purple robes the food of moths, and the ...
— The Life and Death of Richard Yea-and-Nay • Maurice Hewlett

... the dominant note of life in the Confederacy, civil as well as military. The Confederate soldier was often on short rations, but the civilian was not much better off. I do not mean those whose larders were swept by the besom of the invaders. "Not a dust of flour, not an ounce of meat, left in the house," was not an uncommon cry along the line of march; but it was heard elsewhere, and I remember how I raked up examples of European and Asiatic frugality with which to reinforce ...
— The Creed of the Old South 1865-1915 • Basil L. Gildersleeve

... an Abolitionist; and by an Abolitionist I mean what was meant thirty years ago,—one who was unscrupulously bent on removing slavery by any means, good or bad; since slavery, in his eyes, was a malum per se, not a misfortune, an evil, a sin, but a crime to be washed out by the besom ...
— Beacon Lights of History, Volume XII • John Lord

... Here's the besom of Reformation, Which should have made clean the floor; But it swept the wealth out of the nation, And left us dirt good store. Will you buy the state's spinning-wheel, Which spun for the roper's trade? But better it had stood still, For now it has spun a fair thread. ...
— Cavalier Songs and Ballads of England from 1642 to 1684 • Charles Mackay

... Caesar promptly. "He's not to trust, but lend it on his heirship. Or lend it the ould man at mortgage on Ballawhaine. He's the besom of fire—it'll come to you, sir, at the father's death, ...
— The Manxman - A Novel - 1895 • Hall Caine

... land unto the cellar, Clean the peasant's hut he keeps, With a coarse and clumsy besom Every ...
— Russian Lyrics • Translated by Martha Gilbert Dickinson Bianchi

... himself bitterly, "she's putting on her Saturday face. There's trouble brewing, I doubt! It'll be Jock this and Jock that both but and ben all day long, and whatever is the use of all this tirley-wirly I can't see, when on Monday the house will look as if it had never seen the sight of a besom! I'll just bide where I am." He closed his eyes and pretended to ...
— The Scotch Twins • Lucy Fitch Perkins

... benediction of your sweetness a little further in the world. Believe me, I am not so foolish as to despise charity or true efforts to increase the comfort of the poor; but I know that poverty and pain and wretchedness can never be driven from the world by any besom of the law, and I do see that humanitarianism, sprung as it is from materialism and sentimentalism (what a demonic crew of isms!) has bartered away the one valid consolation of mankind for an impossible hope that begets only discontent and mutual ...
— The Jessica Letters: An Editor's Romance • Paul Elmer More

... as they call thee,—hold a bit; I know better than that. Catch Johnny Darbyshire at flinging his money into a lawyer's bag! No, no. I know them chaps wi' wigs well enough. They've tongues as long as a besom's teal, and fingers as long to poke after 'em. Nay, nay, I don't get my money so easily as to let them scrape it up by armfuls. I've worked early and late, in heat and cold, for my bit o' money, and long enough too, before these ...
— Stories of Comedy • Various

... custom of throwing an onion after a bride is doubtless well known. It had the same origin as the old Scotch custom of throwing a besom after a cow on its way to market, to avert ...
— Storyology - Essays in Folk-Lore, Sea-Lore, and Plant-Lore • Benjamin Taylor

... that he belonged to these horrible people, or I should not have admitted him. He came with his broom to brush out the litter of the birds. His eyes fell upon the Venus, and in an instant he had rushed upon her and struck her two blows with his wooden besom. Then we fell upon him and dragged him away. But alas! alas! it was too late, for already the wretch had dashed off the fingers of ...
— The Last Galley Impressions and Tales - Impressions and Tales • Arthur Conan Doyle

... Parliament, England became the great naval power of the world; her colonial possessions, however widely dispersed, were consolidated into one vast fountain of wealth to the imperial realm; the empire of the seas was fixed on an immovable basis, and the proud Hollander compelled to take down the besom from ...
— Salem Witchcraft, Volumes I and II • Charles Upham

... words of magic backwards, Break the spell that overwhelms me! You shall have my sister Aino, I will give my mother's daughter. 460 She shall dust your chamber for you, Sweep the flooring with her besom, Keep the milk-pots all in order; And shall wash your garments for you. Golden fabrics she shall weave you, And shall bake ...
— Kalevala, Volume I (of 2) - The Land of the Heroes • Anonymous

... to fear God, and to take my own part. When I was fourteen I was put out to service to a small farmer and his wife, with whom, however, I did not stay long, for I was half starved, and otherwise ill-treated, especially by my mistress, who one day attempting to knock me down with a besom, I knocked her down with my fist, and went back to the ...
— Lavengro - The Scholar, The Gypsy, The Priest • George Borrow

... aid to disciplined men as opposed to mere guerrilleros. The city is built in blocks, on the American system; the wide thoroughfares cross each other at right-angles, and all of them could be swept as with a besom by a few guns en barbette behind a breastwork at either end. In this sort of work, accuracy of aim is not called for, as in that warfare up in the mountains. If it were, not much reliance could be placed on the Republican artillery. General ...
— Romantic Spain - A Record of Personal Experiences (Vol. II) • John Augustus O'Shea

... of his, and the cruelest charge of all: 'there are a great many killed and wounded.' Not without clangour, complaint; subsequent criminal trials, and official persons dying of heartbreak! (Histoire de la Revolution, par Deux Amis de la Liberte, i. 58.) So, however, with steel-besom, Rascality is brushed back into its dim depths, and the streets ...
— The French Revolution • Thomas Carlyle

... gude cause to remember her,' said Peter, 'for she turned a dyvour on my hands, the auld besom! and after a' that the law could do to make me satisfied and paid, in the way of poinding and distrenzieing and sae forth, as the law will, she ran awa to the charity workhouse, a matter of twenty punds ...
— Redgauntlet • Sir Walter Scott

... the morning, behold! the world was not consumed; it was not the besom of destruction, after all, but the gentle hand of mercy. How deeply and warmly and spotlessly Earth's nakedness is clothed!—the "wool" of the Psalmist nearly two feet deep. And as far as warmth and protection are concerned, there is a good deal of the virtue of wool ...
— A Year in the Fields • John Burroughs

... told that between my seventh and my eighth year I had been sent, not only to church, but to school; but my grandmother deeming me too tender for the besom discipline of a schoolmaster,—from which even the Quality were not at that time spared,—I was put under the government of a discreet matron, who taught not only reading and writing, but also brocaded waistcoats ...
— The Strange Adventures of Captain Dangerous, Vol. 1 of 3 • George Augustus Sala

... o' thee!" he harangued. "I couldna' abide thee th' first time I set eyes on thee. A scrawny buttermilk-faced young besom, allus askin' questions an' pokin' tha' nose where it wasna' wanted. I never knowed how tha' got so thick wi' me. If it hadna' been for th' ...
— The Secret Garden • Frances Hodgson Burnett

... Ambassador at Berlin (Buchholz, i. 130).] But his primary fixed resolution was to stand out of the quarrel; and he abides by that; suppresses any wishes of his own in regard to the Polish Election;—keeps ward on his own frontiers, with good military besom in hand, to sweep it out again if it intruded there. "What King you like, in God's name; only don't come over my threshold ...
— History of Friedrich II. of Prussia, Vol. IX. (of XXI.) • Thomas Carlyle

... certainly was in a matter of such importance, was freely attributed to the most sinister motives. "These Orders in Council were designedly concealed from Mr. Rose, although they had long been deliberated upon, and almost matured, before he left London. They were the besom which was intended to sweep, and would have swept, our commerce from the ocean. Great Britain in the most insidious manner had issued orders for the entire destruction ...
— Sea Power in its Relations to the War of 1812 - Volume 1 • Alfred Thayer Mahan

... as she spoke, and the end of the hammock swept the mantelpiece of all its ornaments, as completely as if the besom of ...
— The Lighthouse • R.M. Ballantyne

... benevolent woman, who, if she had lived there, would not have been so benevolent as Janet, or have kept the place half so clean. For her soul was alive and rich, and out of her soul, not education or habit, came the smallest of her virtues.—Having finished at last, she took her besom to the door, and beat it against a stone. That done, she stood looking along the path down the hill. It was that by which her sons and daughters, every Saturday, came climbing, one after the other, to her bosom, from their various labours in the valley below, through the ...
— Sir Gibbie • George MacDonald

... discipline, economy, and dispatch. He found the palaces grand "circumlocution offices,"—with, in all the departments, an entangling network of red-tape, which needed to be swept away like cobwebs. He himself entered the Royal Nursery finally with the besom of reform. It is said in his "Memoirs"—"The organization and superintendence of the children's department occupied a considerable portion of Stockmar's time"; and he wrote, "The Nursery gives me more trouble than the government ...
— Queen Victoria, her girlhood and womanhood • Grace Greenwood

... could be glimpsed the eternal snows. Sometimes an avalanche slid over a slope with the distant appearance of a great white waterfall and the echo of muffled thunder. Where the mountain was swept as by a mighty besom, the pack-train kept an anxious eye on the snow {31} amid the valleys of the upper peaks; for, in an instant, the snowslide might come over the edge of the upper valley to sweep down the slope, carrying away forests, rocks, trail, pack-train ...
— The Cariboo Trail - A Chronicle of the Gold-fields of British Columbia • Agnes C. Laut

... well gin in at oncet," John said to him one day, when he borrowed ten dollars for the payment of an oyster bill. "I tell you she's got more besom in her than both ...
— Cousin Maude • Mary J. Holmes

... style, his figures, his argument, were most brilliant and sparkling. He spoke like a great statesman and patriot and a sound constitutional lawyer. All the cobwebs of sophistryship and metaphysics about State Rights and State Sovereignty he brushed away with a mighty besom." ...
— John Marshall and the Constitution - A Chronicle of the Supreme Court, Volume 16 In The - Chronicles Of America Series • Edward S. Corwin

... of March was marked by a furious snow-storm that swept the big prairie like a besom, but plugged up every coulee and ravine. For four days no communication had been held with the Ogallalla Agency. The wires were down, the road impassable, and Mrs. Davies had reached her new harbor of refuge none too soon. The quartermaster's ambulance ...
— Under Fire • Charles King

... muse they do not weigh them in a pair of balances); and when once matched with a great deal of care, if one of them chance to die, then is the coach maimed till a meet mate be found, whose corresponding may be as equivalent to the surviving palfrey, in all respects, as like as a broom to a besom, barm to yeast, or codlings to boiled apples." This is good natural humour. He proceeds —"They use more diligence in matching their coach-horses than in the marriage of their sons and daughters." A great fashion, in its novelty, is often extravagant; true elegance and utility are ...
— Literary Character of Men of Genius - Drawn from Their Own Feelings and Confessions • Isaac D'Israeli

... hidden corruptions to the light; and raises a mighty dust where there was none before, sharing deeply all the while in the very same pollutions he pretends to sweep away. His last days are spent in slavery to women, and generally the least deserving; till, worn to the stumps, like his brother besom, he is either kicked out-of-doors, or made use of to kindle flames for others ...
— The Best of the World's Classics, Restricted to prose. Volume III (of X) - Great Britain and Ireland I • Francis W. Halsey

... the drainage was simple, natural, and unaided by art. A few years later, however, about 1824, a beginning was made towards an improved state of things, and a man was employed to sweep the streets periodically with a besom at the munificent salary of 36s. 4d. a year! Over the seventy years that have intervened, this pioneer of our town improvements stands out clear and notable with his four-penny besom and basket. That he ...
— Fragments of Two Centuries - Glimpses of Country Life when George III. was King • Alfred Kingston

... Genessee, destroying orchards, crops and villages. The red men were slain and scattered. The fertile valley was turned into a flaming, smoking hell. Simultaneously a force went up the Alleghany and swept its shores with the besom of destruction. ...
— In the Days of Poor Richard • Irving Bacheller

... wicked people. When me young me kill two ol' squaws—witches!" With an outward gesture of his lean claws he swept these wicked ones off the face of the earth, like a besom of the Lord. ...
— The Magnetic North • Elizabeth Robins (C. E. Raimond)

... girls,—a large coarse Fleming, who sat by the new lord's side. "Fine words," said she, scornfully enough, "for the sweepings of Norman and Flemish kennels. You forget that you left one of this very Leofric's sons behind in Flanders, who would besom all out if he was here ...
— Hereward, The Last of the English • Charles Kingsley

... Cape Juby to the confines of China? Let a common wave pass over them, let a great soldier or organiser arise among them to use the grand material at his hand, and who shall say that this may not be the besom with which Providence may sweep the rotten, decadent, impossible, half-hearted south of Europe, as it did a thousand years ago, until it makes room for a ...
— The Tragedy of The Korosko • Arthur Conan Doyle

... century prelates (whether its cause was stupidity, insincerity, or fear of the monarchs to whose tyranny they pandered), to discover full reason why it pleased God to sweep them out awhile with the besom of destruction. ...
— Plays and Puritans - from "Plays and Puritans and Other Historical Essays" • Charles Kingsley

... stone, lay a succession of heights and hollows covered with grass. In front of the cottages lay sand and sea. The place was cleaner than most fishing villages, but so closely built, so thickly inhabited, and so pervaded with "a very ancient and fishlike smell," that but for the besom of the salt north wind it must have been unhealthy. Eastward the houses could extend no further for the harbour, and westward no further for a small river that crossed the sands to find the sea—discursively and merrily at low water, but with sullen, submissive mingling when ...
— Malcolm • George MacDonald

... and Bishop Wala fell while bravely fighting them before its gates. City after city on the Rhine was taken and burned to the ground. The whole country between Liege, Cologne, and Mayence was so ravaged as to be almost converted into a desert. The besom of destruction, in the hands of the sea-kings, threatened to sweep Germany from end to end, as it had swept the ...
— Historical Tales, Vol 5 (of 15) - The Romance of Reality, German • Charles Morris

... overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah. It shall never be inhabited, neither shall it be dwelt in from generation to generation." "I will also make it a possession for the bittern and pools of water: and I will sweep it with the besom of destruction, saith the Lord of hosts." Isa. 13:19, 20; 14:23. See also the prophecy of the overthrow of Nineveh, Nahum, chs. 2, 3, and of Tyre: "I will also scrape her dust from her, and make her like the top of a rock. It shall be a place for ...
— Companion to the Bible • E. P. Barrows

... crew Before they give their broadside. By and by, My gentle countrymen, we will renew Our old acquaintance; and at least I'll try To tell you truths you will not take as true, Because they are so;—a male Mrs. Fry,[558] With a soft besom will I sweep your halls, And brush a web or two ...
— The Works of Lord Byron, Volume 6 • Lord Byron

... as in a blissful dream and watched my road unfold. The sun set the pine-boles aflare where the hedge is sparse, and stretched the long shadows of the besom poplars in slanting bars across the white highway; the roadside gardens smiled friendly with their trim-cut laurels and rows of stately sunflowers—a seemly proximity this, Daphne and Clytie, sisters in experience, wrapped in the warm caress ...
— The Roadmender • Michael Fairless

... instantly seized the broom and threw it into the fire; but, although the besom burned, the deathless Kashtshei still remained alive. Then the Tsarevna said to him: "My beloved, you do not love me sincerely, for you have not told me truly where is your death; nevertheless, I am not angry, but love ...
— The Russian Garland - being Russian Falk Tales • Various

... would have lived ecstatically at the Languedocian capital. It is a metropolis of beggardom, a mendicant's Mecca, a citadel of Jules Richepin's cherished Gueux. Here, indeed, Elia need not have lamented over the decay of beggars, "the all sweeping besom of societarian reformation—your only modern Alcides' club to rid time of its abuses—is uplift with many-handed sway to extirpate the last fluttering tatters of the bugbear Mendicity. Scrips, wallets, bags, staves, dogs and crutches, the whole mendicant fraternity ...
— In the Heart of the Vosges - And Other Sketches by a "Devious Traveller" • Matilda Betham-Edwards

... was not to be hurried. He had his regular routine in fire-mending, from which no power could move him. "Ay, Sir," he muttered, brushing away with his feather besom. "I'll clear oot when I clear up. When a thing's no' dune richt it's ...
— Corporal Cameron • Ralph Connor

... men-of-the-earth! Once, in my days of obscurity, I was made to put a besom into the piece, and it swept all my genius off the boards. Ah, the donkey-men! But I am glad Eselmann gave me my "Hamlet" back, for before giving it to Goldwater I made it even more subtle. No vulgar nonsense of fencing and poison at the end—a pure mental tragedy, for in life the soul alone ...
— Ghetto Comedies • Israel Zangwill

... dearth—her wings to bear me up—her anchor wherewith to moor my hark of life wherever cast, and to the poor waif I cherished I owed this immeasurable good. Had Mrs. Clayton anticipated him with her infallible besom—that housewifely detective, that drags more secrets to light than ever did paid policeman—I should never have grasped this talisman of love and hope, never have waked up as I did wake up from that hour to the endurance which immortalizes endeavor, and renders patience ...
— Miriam Monfort - A Novel • Catherine A. Warfield

... devil where you'd be, if we hadn't met That hiring-day at Hexham, on the minute. I'd spent last hiring with another wench, A giggling red-haired besom; and we were trysted To meet at the Shambles: and I was awaiting her, When I caught the glisk of your eye: but she was late; And you were a sonsy lassie, fresh and pink; Though little pink about you now, ...
— Krindlesyke • Wilfrid Wilson Gibson

... riseth in indignant wrath, your champion stout and warm: 'Tis time that Somebody should take this old abuse by storm, And sweep out the Old Bailey with the besom of Reform." ...
— The Confessions of a Caricaturist, Vol 2 (of 2) • Harry Furniss

... the hous for to swepe Nought was theyr besom / I holde it set on fyre The inwarde wo in to my herte dyde crepe To god aboue / I made my hole desyre Saynge o good lorde of heuenly empyre Let the mount with all braunches swete Entyerly growe / god ...
— The coforte of louers - The Comfort of Lovers • Stephen Hawes

... says, to go tame about house, and breed, than a wife that is setting at work (my insignificant self present perhaps) every busy our my never-resting servants, those of the stud not excepted; and who, with a besom in her hand, as I may say, would be continually filling my with apprehensions that she wanted to sweep me out of my ...
— Clarissa, Volume 3 (of 9) • Samuel Richardson

... call Lieutenant Blewitt 'Billy?'" exclaimed Angelica, in whose tender besom the full amount of affection she had ever felt had returned for our friend, on supposing that he was in peril and might be ...
— The Three Admirals • W.H.G. Kingston

... hundred pines Straggle the marches between sand and soil. Like maps of stone-walled fields their branching roots Hold the silt still so that thin grass grows there, Its blades whitened with travelling powdery drift The besom of the lightest breeze sets stirring. That woman's gaze toils worn from remote years, Yet forward yearns through the bright spacious noon, Beyond the farthest isle, whose filmy shape Floats faint on the sea-line. I, scooping grains up with the frail ...
— Miscellany of Poetry - 1919 • Various

... Farmer, contains very pleasant decoration by Mr. Sumner. Next comes "Sintram" (1883), a notable edition of De la Motte Fouque's romance, followed by "Undine" (in 1885). With a book on the "Parables," by A.L.O.E., published about 1884; "The Besom Maker" (1880), a volume of country ditties with the old music, and "Jacob and the Raven," with thirty-nine illustrations (Allen, 1896), the best example of his later manner, and a book which all admirers of the more severe order of ...
— Children's Books and Their Illustrators • Gleeson White

... leave the springs o' Calvin, For gumlie dubs of your ain delvin'! Ye sons of heresy and error, Ye'll some day squeal in quaking terror! When Vengeance draws the sword in wrath, And in the fire throws the sheath; When Ruin, with his sweeping besom, Just frets 'till Heav'n commission gies him: While o'er the harp pale Mis'ry moans, And strikes the ever-deep'ning tones, Still louder ...
— The Complete Works of Robert Burns: Containing his Poems, Songs, and Correspondence. • Robert Burns and Allan Cunningham

... the wind again changed, and the whole mass of vapour, smoke, and ashes came sweeping like the very besom of destruction towards the giddy ledge on which the observers stood. Nigel was so entranced that it is probable he might have been caught in the horrible tempest and lost had not his cooler companion ...
— Blown to Bits - or, The Lonely Man of Rakata • Robert Michael Ballantyne

... rejoicing of the spectators. Finally he is replaced by the fool, and the affair becomes a mere matter of buffoonery without special significance. Contributions are levied from the public, and enforced by the "mapper," by which they are seized and held until they have paid. The fool also has a besom, which he dips in the gutter, and with which ...
— Lynton and Lynmouth - A Pageant of Cliff & Moorland • John Presland

... thoo," she said, "thoo'rt as daft as a besom. Thoo hes made a botch on't, thoo blatherskite. Stick that in thy gizzern, and don't thoo go bumman aboot like a bee in ...
— The Shadow of a Crime - A Cumbrian Romance • Hall Caine

... my chum, "those good old days are gone by, now, and Israel worships strange gods. Old Nassau will never be what she was before the fire of '55. Those precious heirlooms of our day are sunk from sight forever, dear and mossy as they were,—swept down, like cobwebs, before the flame-besom. 'Fuit Ilium!' The old bell will never again ring out the gay 'larums of a 'Third Entry' barring-out. Homer's head no longer perches owl-like and wise over the central door-way. 'Ai, Adonai!' No more wilt proud fingers point to the spot ...
— Atlantic Monthly, Vol. 5, No. 32, June, 1860 • Various

... helped him. I remember one elderly bridegroom who, having married a blind woman, had to do double work at his penny wedding. It was a sight to see him flitting about the torch-lit barn, with a kettle of hot water in one hand and a besom to sweep up crumbs in ...
— Auld Licht Idyls • J.M. Barrie



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