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BEMBO—BENARES

de Suzon (1888) and grand opera Elaine (produced at Covent Garden in 1892). Among his songs the dramatic recitative Ballade du Désespéré is well known.

BEMBO, PIETRO (1470-1547), Italian cardinal and scholar, was born at Venice on the 20th of May 1470. While still a boy he accompanied his father to Florence, and there acquired a love for that Tuscan form of speech which he afterwards cultivated in preference to the dialect of his native city. Having completed his studies, which included two years’ devotion to Greek under Lascaris at Messina, he chose the ecclesiastical profession. After a considerable time spent in various cities and courts of Italy, where his learning already made him welcome, he accompanied Giulio de’ Medici to Rome, where he was soon after appointed secretary to Leo X. On the pontiff’s death he retired, with impaired health, to Padua, and there lived for a number of years engaged in literary labours and amusements. In 1529 he accepted the office of historiographer to his native city, and shortly afterwards was appointed librarian of St Mark’s. The offer of a cardinal’s hat by Pope Paul III. took him in 1539 again to Rome, where he renounced the study of classical literature and devoted himself to theology and classical history, receiving before long the reward of his conversion in the shape of the bishoprics of Gubbio and Bergamo. He died on the 18th of January 1547. Bembo, as a writer, is the beau ideal of a purist. The exact imitation of the style of the genuine classics was the highest perfection at which he aimed. This at once prevented the graces of spontaneity and secured the beauties of artistic elaboration. One cannot fail to be struck with the Ciceronian cadence that guides the movement even of his Italian writings.

His works (collected edition, Venice, 1729) include a History of Venice (1551) from 1487 to 1513, dialogues, poems, and what we would now call essays. Perhaps the most famous are a little treatise on Italian prose, and a dialogue entitled Gli Asolani, in which Platonic affection is explained and recommended in a rather long-winded fashion, to the amusement of the reader who remembers the relations of the beautiful Morosina with the author. The edition of Petrarch’s Italian Poems, published by Aldus in 1501, and the Terzerime, which issued from the same press in 1502, were edited by Bembo, who was on intimate terms with the great typographer. See Opere de P. Bembo (Venice, 1729); Casa, Vita di Bembo, in 2nd vol. of his works.

BEMBRIDGE BEDS, in geology, strata forming part of the fluvio-marine series of deposits of Oligocene age, in the Isle of Wight and Hampshire, England. They lie between the Hamstead beds above and the Osborne beds below. The Bembridge marls, freshwater, estuarine and marine clays and marls (70-120 ft.) rest upon the Bembridge limestone, a freshwater pool deposit (15-25 ft.), with large land snails (Amphidromus and Helices), freshwater snails (Planorbis, Limnaea), and the fruits of Chara. The marls contain, besides the freshwater Limnaea and Unio, such forms as Meretrix, Ostrea and Melanopsis. A thin calcareous sandy layer in this division has yielded the remains of many insects and fossil leaves.

See “Geology of the Isle of Wight,” Mem. Geol. Survey, 2nd ed. 1889.

BEMIS, EDWARD WEBSTER (1860-  ), American economist, was born at Springfield, Massachusetts, on the 7th of April 1860. He was educated at Amherst and Johns Hopkins University. He held the professorship of history and political economy in Vanderbilt University from 1887 to 1892, was associate professor of political economy in the university of Chicago from 1892 to 1895, and assistant statistician to the Illinois bureau of labour statistics, 1896. In 1901 he became superintendent of the Cleveland water works. He wrote much on municipal government, his more important works being some chapters in History of Co-operation in the United States (1888); Municipal Ownership of Gas in the U.S. (1891); Municipal Monopolies (1899).

BÉMONT, CHARLES (1848-  ), French scholar, was born at Paris on the 16th of November 1848. In 1884 he graduated with two theses, Simon de Montfort and La Condamnation de Jean Sansterre (Revue historique, 1886). His Les Chartes des libertés anglaises (1892) has an introduction upon the history of Magna Carta, &c., and his History of Europe from 395 to 1270, in collaboration with G. Monod, was translated into English. He was also responsible for the continuation of the Gascon Rolls, the publication of which had been begun by Francisque Michel in 1885 (supplement to vol. i., 1896; vol. ii., for the years 1273-1290, 1900; vol. iii., for the years 1290-1307, 1906). He received the honorary degree of Litt. Doc. at Oxford in 1909.

BEN (from Old Eng. bennan, within), in the Scottish phrase “a but and a ben,” the inner room of a house in which there is only one outer door, so that the entrance to the inner room is through the outer, the but (Old Eng. butan, without). Hence “a but and a ben” meant originally a living room and sleeping room, and so a dwelling or a cottage.

BENARES, the Holy City of the Hindus, which gives its name to a district and division in the United Provinces of India. It is one of the most ancient cities in the world. The derivation of its ancient name Varanasi is not known, nor is that of its alternative name Kasi, which is still in common use among Hindus, and is popularly explained to mean “bright.” The original site of the city is supposed to have been at Sarnath, 3½ m. north of the present city, where ruins of brick and stone buildings, with three lofty stupas still standing, cover an area about half a mile long by a quarter broad. Sakya Muni, the Buddha, came here from Gaya in the 6th century B.C. (from which time some of the remains may date), in order to establish his religion, which shows that the place was even then a great centre. Hsüan Tsang, the celebrated Chinese pilgrim, visited Benares in the 7th century A.D. and described it as containing 30 Buddhist monasteries, with about 3000 monks, and about 100 temples of Hindu gods. Hinduism has now supplanted Buddhism, and the Brahman fills the place of the monk. The modern temples number upwards of 1500. Even after the lapse of so great a time the city is still in its glory, and as seen from the river it presents a scene of great picturesqueness and grandeur. The Ganges here forms a fine sweep of about 4 m. in length, the city being situated on the outside of the curve, on the northern bank of the river, which is higher than the other. Being thus elevated, and extending along the river for some 4 m., the city forms a magnificent panorama of buildings in many varieties of oriental architecture. The minarets of the mosque of Aurangzeb rise above all. The bank of the river is entirely lined with stone, and there are many very fine ghats or landing-places built by pious devotees, and highly ornamented. These are generally crowded with bathers and worshippers, who come to wash away their sins in the sacred river Ganges. Near the Manikarnika ghat is the well held to have been dug by Vishnu and filled with his sweat; great numbers of pilgrims bathe in its venerated water. Shrines and temples line the bank of the river. But in spite of its fine appearance from the river, the architecture of Benares is not distinguished, nor are its buildings of high antiquity. Among the most conspicuous of these are the mosque of Aurangzeb, built as an intentional insult in the middle of the Hindu quarter; the Bisheshwar or Golden Temple, important less through architectural beauty than through its rank as the holiest spot in the holy city; and the Durga temple, which, like most of the other principal temples, is a Mahratta building of the 17th century. The temples are mostly small and are placed in the angles of the streets, under the shadow of the lofty houses. Their forms are not ungraceful, and many of them are covered over with beautiful and elaborate carvings of flowers, animals and palm branches. The observatory of Raja Jai Singh is a notable building of the year 1693. The internal streets of the town are so winding and narrow that there is not room for a carriage to pass, and it is difficult to penetrate them even on horseback. The level of the roadway is considerably lower than the ground-floors of the houses, which have generally arched rooms in front, with little shops behind them; and above these they are richly embellished with verandahs, galleries, projecting oriel windows, and very broad overhanging eaves supported by carved brackets. The houses are built of chanar stone, and are lofty, none being less than two storeys high, most of them three, and several of five or six storeys. The Hindus are fond of painting the outside of their houses a deep red colour, and of covering