Dictionary gloss: the B’s

bacchanal a riotus or drunken festivity

When the self-righteous trip and fall
upon their own hypocrisy
lovers of truth, in bacchanal,
must not rejoice too mightily

backbite to speak spitefully or nastily about someone who is not present

If you would backbite at your foes
Beware those wearing a friend’s clothes
For the toothmarks you make in vain
May cause the biter loss and pain

badinage playful banter

In badinage, two friends may seem
to play at odds, to stranger’s eyes;
and often, that foreign esteem,
will read such things as tricks and lies.

bagatelle a trifle

The world is not a bagetelle
A worthless thing we buy and sell;
indeed, its whole is beyond price
and must not yield to avarice.

bathos a ludicrously abrupt shift from an elevated to a commonplace style; insincere or overly sentimental pathos

Hark! The lofty purpose seeks
conveyance in the grandest terms,
yet far too frequently, it speaks
in seeming bathos, just to worms.

bedizen to adorn or dress gaudily

To those who would bedizen truth
and seek to change how it is taken:
know this, once upon the tooth
its flavor cannot be mistaken.

belletrist a writer of literature regarded for its artistic rather than informative value

If you would be a belletrist,
take heed and shape your art
in a great vacuum, sealed and safe
where no ideas start.

benthos the bottom of a sea or lake; the organisms living there

The benthos in the calm, smooth sand
will often fail to understand
the turmoil up amidst the waves
and standing still, think themselves brave.

billingsgate foul, abusive language

The simple man will heap his foes
with endless billingsgate,
not reckonizing that the trowel
he uses seals his own sad fate.

bowdlerize to expurgate (a book) prudishly

Some seek to safely bowdlerize
the Constitution’s promise;
they say, ’tis safe to “modernize” —
to gut, would be more honest.

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