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Besonian 2 HENRY IV., v. 3. 112; “bezonians” 2 HENRY VI., iv. 1. 134. “(besonians,” Dyce). The Italian origin of the wordbesonian (see post), shows that it properly means “a needy fellow, a beggar;” but it was also used in the sense of“a raw or needy soldier;” and eventually it became a term of reproach,—“a knave, a scoundrel” ( “Bisogno, need, want. Also a fresh needy soldier. . . . Bisognoso, needy, necessitous. Florio's Ital. and Engl. Dict. “Bisongne . . . a filthie knaue, or clowne; a raskall, bisonian, base humored scoundrell. Cotgrave's Fr. and Engl. Dict. For the following illustrations of the word I am indebted to Mr. Bolton Corney: “Their order is [in Spain], where the warres are present, to supplie their regiments, being in action, with the garrisons out of all his dominions and prouinces before they dislodge, besonios supply[ing] their places, raw men, as wee tearme them. By these meanes hee traines his besonios, and furnisheth his armie with trained souldiers.” A brief discourse of Warre, by Sir Roger Williams, 1590, 4to, p. 11. “Bisognio or Bisonnio, a Spanish or Italian word, and is, as we terme it, a raw souldier, unexpert in his weapon, and other military points.The theorike and practike of moderne warres, by Robert Barret, 1598, folio, sig. Y 4. “Bisoños, Voyez Visoños. . . . Visoño, nouueau soldat, apprenty. Tesoro de las dos lengvas Francesa y Española, por Cesar Ovdin, 1607, 4to.Bisoño, el soldado nueuo en la milicia, es nōbre casual y moderno,” Tesoro de la lengva Castellana, o Española, por D. Sebastian de Cobarruuias, 1611, sig. s 2 verso. Cobarruuis or Covarruvias gives us twenty-five lines on this word: he states that some Spanish soldiers in Italy learned the word Visoño, and were accustomed to ask alms, saying Visoño pan, Visoño carne, etc., and were thence called Visoños; which circumstance is alluded to by one of their dramatists, Torres Naharro).

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    • William Shakespeare, The Second Part of Henry VI, 4.1
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