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Descant   Listen
verb
Descant  v. i.  (past & past part. descanted; pres. part. descanting)  
1.
To sing a variation or accomplishment.
2.
To comment freely; to discourse with fullness and particularity; to discourse at large. "A virtuous man should be pleased to find people descanting on his actions."






Collaborative International Dictionary of English 0.48








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"Descant" Quotes from Famous Books



... moments short Of ceremonious dinner to the king. This was the time when he had meant to bring Melodious message of young Lisa's love; He waited till the air had ceased to move To ringing silver, till Falernian wine Made quickened sense with quietude combine; And then with passionate descant made each ear incline. ...
— How Lisa Loved the King • George Eliot

... this matter; nothing could atone for the loss of good blood; nothing could neutralize its good effects. Few indeed were now possessed of it, but the possession was on that account the more precious. It was very pleasant to hear Mr. Thorne descant on this matter. Were you in your ignorance to surmise that such a one was of a good family because the head of his family was a baronet of an old date, he would open his eyes with a delightful look of affected surprise, and modestly remind you that baronetcies ...
— Barchester Towers • Anthony Trollope

... To hear that paragon, that queen among women, descant of work done in the slums and of the mysteries of sweat-shops; to hear her state off-hand that there were seventeen hundred and fifty thousand children between the ages of ten and fifteen years employed in the mines and factories of the United States; to hear her discourse of ...
— The Eagle's Shadow • James Branch Cabell

... and say (I deem), My figured descant hides the simple theme: Or in another wise reproving, say I ill observe thine own high reticent way. Oh, pardon, that I testify of thee What thou couldst never ...
— Poems • Francis Thompson

... lit it with a blazing sulphur match before he continued; and we all walked on again. I remember it all very distinctly, because it was the beginning of Nino's madness. Especially I call to mind his expression of indifference when Ercole began to descant upon the worldly possessions of the Lira household. It seemed to me that if Nino so seriously cast his eyes on the Contessina Edvigia, he might at least have looked pleased to hear she was so rich; or he might have looked disappointed, if he thought that her position was an obstacle in his way. ...
— A Roman Singer • F. Marion Crawford

... evening on, and twilight grey Had in her sober livery all things clad. Silence accompanied: for beast and bird, They to their grassy couch, these to their nests, Were slunk—all but the wakeful nightingale: She, all night long, her am'rous descant sung. Silence was pleased. Now glow'd the firmament With living sapphires: Hesperus, that led The starry host, rode brightest; till the moon, Rising in clouded majesty, at length, Apparent queen, unveil'd her peerless light, And o'er the dark her silver ...
— The Illustrated London Reading Book • Various

... run into merely moral disquisitions, either not mentioning at all, or at least but cursorily touching on the sufferings and love of their Redeemer; and are little apt to kindle at their Saviour's name, and like the apostles to be betrayed by their fervor into what may be almost an untimely descant on the riches of his unutterable mercy. In addressing others also whom they conceive to be living in habits of sin, and under the wrath of God, they rather advise them to amend their ways as a preparation ...
— A Practical View of the Prevailing Religious System of Professed Christians, in the Middle and Higher Classes in this Country, Contrasted with Real Christianity. • William Wilberforce

... first day that same Alessandro del Dardo won her to himself by his descant upon the theme, "How a gentleman may dismember himself without dishonour for a lady's ...
— Little Novels of Italy • Maurice Henry Hewlett

... gravity, and deportment, I made no question were savants. As he drew near, I found he was discoursing of the marvels of his late voyage. When within six feet of us the whole party stopped, the Doctor continuing to descant with a very proper gesticulation, and in a way to show that his subject was of infinite interest to his listeners. Accidentally turning his eye in our direction, he caught a glimpse of our figures, and making ...
— The Monikins • J. Fenimore Cooper

... evening meals were sent from "La Cigogne," close by, in four large round tins that fitted into each other, and were carried in a wicker-work cylindrical basket. And it was little Frau's delight to descant on the qualities of the menu as she dished and served it. I will not ...
— The Martian • George Du Maurier

... followers, raised To the pitiful height of their leader, than be One man's goddess. There, now, is the true Mabel Lee! Grieve not that you lost her, but grieve for the one Who with me stood last night by the corpse of his son, And with me stood alone. Ah! how wisely and well Could Mabel descant on Maternity! tell Other women the way to train children to be An honor and pride to their parents! Yet she, From the first, left her child to the nurses. She found 'Twas a tax on her nerves to have baby around When it worried and cried. The nurse knew what to do, And a block down ...
— Three Women • Ella Wheeler Wilcox

... Mingling flows, Grave, ceremonial, pure, As once, from lips that endure, The cosmic descant rose, When the temporal lord of life, Going his golden way, Had taken a wondrous maid to wife That long had said ...
— Modern British Poetry • Various

... laboured at; and one of a special interest because we see it again later transformed and purified in the famous passage of Paradise Lost, in which "Silence was pleased" not only with the stillness of evening, but also with the song of the bird whose "amorous descant" alone interrupts it. Yet even that seemed to Warton, the best of Milton's early critics, a conceit unworthy of the poet. So difficult it is for "rational" criticism to see the distinction between an intellectual extravagance and a ...
— Milton • John Bailey

... is one musical echo and aspiration. He finds his theme and illustration constantly in music. His amorous descant never fails him: his lute is always by his side. Following the "Steps of the Temple," a graceful tribute to Herbert, we have the congenial title, "The Delights of the Muses," opening with ...
— Gifts of Genius - A Miscellany of Prose and Poetry by American Authors • Various

... the Scotch divine are doubtless strong; too strong, I think. And yet they may be serviceable, if they warn us against that proneness to depreciate the intellectual value and serious purpose of the religious books of that land. It is worse than useless to confidently descant upon the errors, inconsistencies, the follies and absurdities of these writings without acknowledging at the same time the profound thought, the deep spiritual yearning and the sublime poetic ...
— India's Problem Krishna or Christ • John P. Jones

... consequently the victim of the friars and General Polavieja. Often have I, together with the old native parish priest, Father Leoncio Lopez, spent an hour with Jose's father, Francisco Mercado, and heard the old man descant, with pride, on the intellectual progress of his son at the Jesuits' school in Manila. Before he was fourteen years of age he wrote a melodrama in verse entitled Junto al Pasig ("Beside the Pasig ...
— The Philippine Islands • John Foreman

... where the sacrament was at that time kept, because of the repairs which were going on in the great Chapel; and all kneeling on their knees, and having recited the Pater-noster and the Ave-maria, the Abbot gave a sign, and the Precentor of the Convent began in plain descant the antiphony Salvator Mundi. And when the whole Convent had sung this, the Abbot said the verse Ostende nobis, and the verse Post partum virgo, and the prayer Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, qui es omnium dubitantium certitudo, and the prayer Deus qui salutis ...
— Chronicle Of The Cid • Various

... back into the last yuga, and is as but yesterday in the march of the divine aeons of the past. Certainly, writers whose productions are unreliable as a guide to the events of the past century or two are only indenting upon their imagination when they descant upon the chronological data of ...
— India, Its Life and Thought • John P. Jones

... in the Third Part (p. 136) Phil.'s brother Polymathes comes with him to Gnorimus for a lesson in Descant—i.e., the art of extemporaneously adding a part to the written plainsong.[1] This brother had had lessons formerly from a master who carried a plainsong book in his pocket, and caused him to do the like; "and so walking in ...
— Shakespeare and Music - With Illustrations from the Music of the 16th and 17th centuries • Edward W. Naylor

... the air which is felt on the mountains after sunset. In those distant regions, where men yet feel the full value of the gifts of nature, a land-holder boasts of the water of his spring, the absence of noxious insects, the salutary breeze that blows round his hill, as we in Europe descant on the conveniences of our dwellings, and the picturesque effect ...
— Equinoctial Regions of America • Alexander von Humboldt

... Mr. Burke through a pathless wilderness of rhapsodies, and a sort of descant upon governments, in which he asserts whatever he pleases, on the presumption of its being believed, without offering either evidence or ...
— The Writings Of Thomas Paine, Complete - With Index to Volumes I - IV • Thomas Paine

... Codrus, who was not afraid to die for his country, is removed from Inachus, and the race of Aeacus, and the battles also that were fought at sacred Troy—[these subjects] you descant upon; but at what price we may purchase a hogshead of Chian; who shall warm the water [for bathing]; who finds a house: and at what hour I am to get rid of these Pelignian colds, you are silent. Give me, boy, [a bumper] for the new moon in an instant, give me one ...
— The Works of Horace • Horace

... must clearly disappoint feminine expectation, by forbearing to descant upon Charles's slight but manly form, and his Grecian beauty, &c., all the better for the tropics, and the trials and the troubles ...
— The Complete Prose Works of Martin Farquhar Tupper • Martin Farquhar Tupper

... the house, 'go on. I will hear you out.' And then, seeing him stand before her with so much obvious disrelish to the task, she was suddenly overcome with laughter. Julia's laugh was a thing to ravish lovers; she rolled her mirthful descant with the freedom and the melody of a blackbird's song upon the river, and repeated by the echoes of the farther bank. It seemed a thing in its own place and a sound native to the open air. There was only one creature who heard it without joy, and that ...
— The Wrong Box • Robert Louis Stevenson and Lloyd Osbourne

... heterogeneous conglomeration of worms, leaves, bugs, and crushed berries; but I succeeded in eliminating the refuse by throwing the whole mass into a tub of water, and skimming off the risings. I would then descant to buyers upon the freshness of the berries wet with the dews of heaven, but my ruse was soon discovered, and people refused to ...
— The Gentleman from Everywhere • James Henry Foss

... Pastor Fido was laid in Arcadia, the play really represented polite Italian society. In the softness of its sentiment, its voluptuous verbal melody, and its reiterated descant upon effeminate love-pleasure, it corresponded exactly to the spirit of its age.[185] This was the secret of its success; and this explains its seduction. Not Corisca's wanton blandishments and professed ...
— Renaissance in Italy, Volumes 1 and 2 - The Catholic Reaction • John Addington Symonds

... with great pain," said he, at length, in a tone of despondency, not unmingled with displeasure, "that I am obliged to descant upon the infirmities of a parent, and to censure her conduct as severely as I may do now. I feel the impropriety of such a step, and I would willingly avoid it, could I do so in justice to my own feelings—and especially at a moment like the present—when every ...
— Rookwood • William Harrison Ainsworth

... bill of Earl Grey's administration, was the study of his whole professional and public life. He not only knew every leading event, every great statute, but he had the minutest details at command, and was always pleased to descant upon a British statute, or on an epoch of British legislation. The excellent volumes of Lord Chancellor Campbell have made a knowledge of the history of the law an easy accomplishment; but Tazewell never ...
— Discourse of the Life and Character of the Hon. Littleton Waller Tazewell • Hugh Blair Grigsby

... he felt called so publicly to descant upon the natural history of the Lone Wolf? In order to focus upon that one the attentions of his enemies? Or to ...
— The False Faces • Vance, Louis Joseph

... how he proceeds to descant on slavery itself:—"Slavery," says he, "was a survival from a social order which had passed away, and slavery could not be continued. IT DOES NOT FOLLOW THAT per se IT WAS A CRIME. The negroes who were sold to the dealers in the factories were ...
— West Indian Fables by James Anthony Froude Explained by J. J. Thomas • J. J. (John Jacob) Thomas

... making Gilberte suddenly burst into the room, come to live with us for ever. I had already sung the praises of the old lady who read the Debats (I had hinted to my parents that she must at least be an Ambassador's widow, if not actually a Highness) and I continued to descant on her beauty, her splendour, her nobility, until the day on which I mentioned that, by what I had heard Gilberte call her, she appeared to be ...
— Swann's Way - (vol. 1 of Remembrance of Things Past) • Marcel Proust

... early career. Whilst walking in the woods or through the grounds, he would arrest his friend's attention by allusion to some simple object,—such as a leaf, a blade of grass, a bit of bark, a nest of birds, or an ant carrying its eggs across the path,—and descant in glowing terms upon the creative power of the Divine Mechanician, whose contrivances were so exhaustless and so wonderful. This was a theme upon which he was often accustomed to dwell in reverential admiration, when in the society of his ...
— Lives of the Engineers - The Locomotive. George and Robert Stephenson • Samuel Smiles

... to descant on such a theme. It is impossible to give any true idea of the literary labors of those men, without having seen and perused their huge folios, many of which have not yet been published to the world. ...
— Irish Race in the Past and the Present • Aug. J. Thebaud

... Prince and Princess of Wales were present, and had spent several weeks in the country houses of some of the wealthy English. Consequently, she considered herself quite au fait with their style and customs, which she never failed to descant upon, greatly to the amusement of her listeners, and the mortification of Grey, who was now old enough to see how ridiculous ...
— Bessie's Fortune - A Novel • Mary J. Holmes

... thoroughly bibliographical. After having examined some of the finer books before mentioned, and especially having dwelt upon the Latin Bible of Mentelin, and a few copies of the rarer Classics, I ventured to descant upon the propriety of parting with those for which there was no use, and which, without materially strengthening their own collection, might, by an advantageous sale, enable them to enrich their collection by valuable modern books: of which they obviously stood in need. I then ...
— A Bibliographical, Antiquarian and Picturesque Tour in France and Germany, Volume Two • Thomas Frognall Dibdin

... "Ah! je l'avais oublie!" he exclaimed. Upon this he pulled out a large shabby green pocket-book from his coat; took off a greasy black stock, displaying a collarless shirt and neck, upon the tinge of which it would be needless to descant, and then extracting from the pocket-book two curvilinear pieces of dirty white paper, which had been folded more than once, and had an ink spot or two on their surface, applied them to his chin, holding their corners in his mouth, buckled on ...
— Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, Volume 57, No. 356, June, 1845 • Various

... in quality. Occasionally there is a really first-class article, and generally there are one or two very readable. The quality has much fallen off during the last eighteen months, but it affords a convenient outlet for the young colonists to air political and social crotchets, and to descant on philosophical theories. Now and then the editor used to hook a big fish, such as the Duke of Manchester, Professor Amos, and Senor Castelar, who have all contributed to its columns. The philosophical articles are naturally very feeble, but not unfrequently ...
— Town Life in Australia - 1883 • R. E. N. (Richard) Twopeny

... Course of this Debate, to descant freely, on the Doctrines of Divine Sovereignty, Election, Reprobation, and Original Sin; and also, on the Arguments which some ingenious Gentlemen have used to support them. But I hope (with regard to the ...
— Free and Impartial Thoughts, on the Sovereignty of God, The Doctrines of Election, Reprobation, and Original Sin: Humbly Addressed To all who Believe and Profess those DOCTRINES. • Richard Finch

... it would tend to nothing but confusion. The ancient kings well understood this, and accordingly ruled barbarians by misrule. Therefore, to rule barbarians by misrule is the true way of ruling them.' It suited the purpose of European residents at Canton to descant upon the arrogance and inhumanity of the Chinese, as manifested by proceedings based upon those hostile edicts, while the provocations which explained and extenuated them were ...
— The Continental Monthly, Vol. 4, No. 5, November, 1863 • Various

... 305 And other such lady-like luxuries,— Feasting on which we will philosophize! And we'll have fires out of the Grand Duke's wood, To thaw the six weeks' winter in our blood. And then we'll talk;—what shall we talk about? 310 Oh! there are themes enough for many a bout Of thought-entangled descant;—as to nerves— With cones and parallelograms and curves I've sworn to strangle them if once they dare To bother me—when you are with me there. 315 And they shall never more sip laudanum, From Helicon ...
— The Complete Poetical Works of Percy Bysshe Shelley Volume I • Percy Bysshe Shelley

... write less expertly. A contributor to "The Cambridge Review," a fortnight ago, lamented this at length: so you will not set the aspersion down to me, nor blame me if these early lectures too officiously offer a kind of 'First Aid': that, while all the time eager to descant on the affinities of speech and writing, I dwell first on their differences; or that, in speaking of Burke, an author I adore only 'on this side idolatry,' I first present him in some aspects for your avoidance. Similarly I adore the prose of Sir Thomas Browne, yet should ...
— On the Art of Writing - Lectures delivered in the University of Cambridge 1913-1914 • Arthur Quiller-Couch

... word to utter, or a sentence to write, which can interest the bulk of readers. Does he come from the London University, or any of the provincial academies? He is thinking only of railroads or mechanics, of chemistry or canals, of medicine or surgery. He could descant without end on sulphuric acid or decrepitating salts, on capacity for caloric or galvanic batteries, on steam-engines and hydraulic machines, on the discoveries of Davy or the conclusions of Berzelius, of the systems of Hutton or Werner, of Liebig or Cuvier. But although an acquaintance with ...
— Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, Volume 62, Number 361, November, 1845. • Various

... since left Tithon's bed, All ready to her silver coach to climb; And Phoebus 'gins to show his glorious head. Hark, how the cheerful birds do chant their lays And carol of love's praise. The merry lark her matins sings aloft; The thrush replies; the mavis descant plays; The ouzel shrills; the ruddock warbles soft; So goodly all agree, with sweet consent, To this day's merriment. Ah! my dear love, why do ye sleep thus long, When meeter were that ye should now awake, To await the coming of your joyous mate, And hearken ...
— The Home Book of Verse, Vol. 2 (of 4) • Various

... vain to me the smiling mornings shine, And reddening Phoebus lifts his golden fire; The birds in vain their amorous descant join, Or cheerful fields resume their green attire. These ears, alas! for other notes repine; A different object do these eyes require; My lonely anguish melts no heart but mine; And in my breast the ...
— Prefaces and Prologues to Famous Books - with Introductions, Notes and Illustrations • Charles W. Eliot

... English gentlemen on rural concerns, and of noticing with what taste and discrimination, and what strong, unaffected interest they will discuss topics, which, in other countries, are abandoned to mere woodmen, or rustic cultivators. I have heard a noble earl descant on park and forest scenery with the science and feeling of a painter. He dwelt on the shape and beauty of particular trees on his estate, with as much pride and technical precision as though he had been discussing the merits of statues in his collection I found that he had even gone considerable ...
— Bracebridge Hall, or The Humorists • Washington Irving

... Have pity upon us. We are brands plucked from the burning." And continued for several minutes to descant upon the theme of everlasting torture by incandescence and thirst. Nominally addressing a deity, but in fact preaching to his audience, he announced that, even for the veriest infant on a lorry, there ...
— Clayhanger • Arnold Bennett

... understand Christian self-sacrifice, for ends which seem to it shadowy as compared with the solid realities of helping material progress or satisfying material wants. A hundred critics, who do not do much for the poor themselves, will descant on the waste of money in religious enterprises, and smile condescendingly at the enthusiasts who are so unpractical. But love knows its own meaning, and need not be abashed by the censure of ...
— Expositions of Holy Scripture - St. John Chapters I to XIV • Alexander Maclaren

... not clear as to every point considered to be orthodox. Being at all times a curious examiner of the human mind, and pleased with an undisguised display of what had passed in it, he called to me with warmth, 'Give me your hand; I have taken a liking to you.' He then began to descant upon the force of testimony, and the little we could know of final causes; so that the objections of, why was it so? or why was it not so? ought not to disturb us: adding, that he himself had at one period been guilty of a ...
— Life of Johnson - Abridged and Edited, with an Introduction by Charles Grosvenor Osgood • James Boswell

... with intense solicitude about "the weather!" Will soon perceived, however, that in the circumstances this was utterly ridiculous, so he made another effort and asked about Flora's father and mother, and then, happy thought, he suddenly remembered Buckawanga, and began to descant upon him, after which he naturally slid into ships and voyaging, and so ...
— Over the Rocky Mountains - Wandering Will in the Land of the Redskin • R.M. Ballantyne

... to descant loudly on the chaste elegance of the design, the richness of the tracing, etc., and beg me to furnish them with a copy of it when I got home, for their sisters to work window curtains or tidies by. They were sure that so striking a novelty in patterns ...
— Andersonville, complete • John McElroy

... every respect to the public for their perusal. Many of his poems, which are not found in the present volume, the author trusts will be deemed worthy of being treasured in the scrap books of his friends. Of the literary merits of the composition, it would ill become the author in any way to descant upon; but in regard to these he leaves himself entirely and absolutely in the hands of a critical, and, he hopes, an indulgent public, feeling assured that he may trust himself in the ...
— Revised Edition of Poems • William Wright

... fast in the clutch of that foul barbarian, Sapor—-and stood a silent and astonished witness of a love, such as I never saw in any other, and which seemed so great as to be a necessary seed of death to her frail and shattered frame? Of thee especially have I heard her descant as mothers will, and tell one after another of all thy beauties, nay and of the virtues which bound her to thee so, and of her trust so long cherished, that thou, more than either of her other sons, wouldst live to sustain, and even bear up higher, ...
— Zenobia - or, The Fall of Palmyra • William Ware

... Sebastiano. Sometimes his satire becomes malignant, as in the sonnet against the people of Pistoja, which breathes the spirit of Dantesque invective. Sometimes the fierceness of it is turned against himself, as in the capitolo upon old age and its infirmities. The grotesqueness of this lurid descant on senility and death is marked by something rather Teutonic than Italian, a "Danse Macabre" intensity of loathing; and it winds up with the bitter reflections, peculiar to him in his latest years, upon the vanity of art. "My much-prized art, on which ...
— The Life of Michelangelo Buonarroti • John Addington Symonds

... blood, for she was in all other respects Negro and not Indian. But it was of her aboriginal ancestry that Mrs. Johnson chiefly boasted—when not engaged in argument to maintain the superiority of the African race. She loved to descant upon it as the cause and explanation of her own arrogant habit of feeling; and she seemed, indeed, to have inherited something of the Indian's hauteur along with the Ethiop's subtle cunning and abundant amiability. She gave many instances in which her pride had met and overcome the ...
— Masterpieces Of American Wit And Humor • Thomas L. Masson (Editor)

... least two volumes, have been written to prove the origin of that cosmopolitan, half-Gregorian descant known here as "America," and in England as "God Save the King." William C. Woodbridge of Boston brought it home with him from Germany. The Germans had been singing it for years (and are singing it now, more or less) to the words, "Heil Dir Im Siegel Kranz," and the Swiss to ...
— The Story of the Hymns and Tunes • Theron Brown and Hezekiah Butterworth

... in a plea for this pursuit, as about the least costly foible to which those who can afford to indulge in foibles can devote themselves, one might descant on certain auxiliary advantages—as, that it is not apt to bring its votaries into low company; that it offends no one, and is not likely to foster actions of damages for nuisance, trespass, or assault, and the like. But rather let us turn our attention to the intellectual ...
— The Book-Hunter - A New Edition, with a Memoir of the Author • John Hill Burton

... warblers of the wood—no more! Nor pour your descant, grating, on my soul; Thou young-eyed Spring, gay in thy verdant stole, More welcome were to me ...
— The Complete Works of Robert Burns: Containing his Poems, Songs, and Correspondence. • Robert Burns and Allan Cunningham

... as our leader and spokesman: eloquently did he descant upon all our grievances, not forgetting mouldy bread, caggy mutton, and hebdomadal meat pies. He represented to Mr Root the little honour that he would gain in the contest, and the certain loss—the damage to his property and to his reputation—the loss of scholars, and of profit; and ...
— Rattlin the Reefer • Edward Howard

... will are ready to find faults. This delay of ripe time for marriage, besides the loss of the realm (for without posterity of her highness what hope is left unto us?) ministereth matter to these leud tongues to descant upon, and breedeth contempt. I would I had but one hour's talk with you. Think if I trusted not your good nature, I would not write thus much; which nevertheless I humbly pray you to reserve as written ...
— Memoirs of the Court of Queen Elizabeth • Lucy Aikin

... curiosity, or affording assistance to the ambitious; we are very sure that the moral influence of the Lexicon Balatronicum will be more certain and extensive than that of any methodist sermon that has ever been delivered within the bills of mortality. We need not descant on the dangerous impressions that are made on the female mind, by the remarks that fall incidentally from the lips of the brothers or servants of a family; and we have before observed, that improper topics can with our assistance be discussed, ...
— 1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue • Captain Grose et al.

... with much modesty to descant upon the literary and fashionable departments of the Pall Mall Gazette, which were to be conducted by gentlemen of acknowledged reputation; men famous at the Universities (at which Mr Pendennis could ...
— The History of Pendennis • William Makepeace Thackeray

... our common Mother saw; Now earlie greets black Flores banefull Ile, (Flores, from whence afflictions selfe doth draw The true memorialls of a weeping stile;) And with Caisters Querristers[1] which straw Descant, that might Death of his darts beguile, He tunes saluting notes, sweeter then long, All which are made his last ...
— The Principal Navigations, Voyages, Traffiques, and Discoveries of The English Nation, v. 7 - England's Naval Exploits Against Spain • Richard Hakluyt

... not a word of avowed reference to his own case throughout; and yet from first to last we are aware of young Mary Powell in the background. Inability for "fit and matchable conversation": this is that supreme fault in a wife on which the descant is from first to last, and from which, when it is plainly ingrained and unamendable, the right of divorce is maintained to be, by the law of God and all civil reason, the due deliverance. Hopeless intellectual and spiritual incompatibility between husband and wife: it is on this, ...
— The Life of John Milton Vol. 3 1643-1649 • David Masson

... from behind Monte Crocione, back of Cadenabbia, and sweeping with great fury across the lake. Such a storm as this was the memorable one of 1493, upon whose violence chroniclers of the time delighted to descant. This particular tempest, which was probably no more severe than many others, found a place in history and romance because its unmannerly waters tossed about the richly decorated barge of Bianca Sforza, whose marriage to Maximilian, King of the Romans, ...
— In Chteau Land • Anne Hollingsworth Wharton

... and always shyed most fearfully when an Opposition coach approached them. Indeed, it was well known that the horses selected for these duties were, generally speaking, vicious and unsound, and not taken from the most able and powerful, but from the most showy classes. He then proceeded to descant upon the general wrongs of horses. He congratulated the community upon the abolition of bearing reins, those grievous burdens upon the necks of all free-going horses; and he trusted the time would soon arrive when the blinkers would also be taken off, every ...
— Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, No. CCCXXXIX. January, 1844. Vol. LV. • Various

... dissection of it, so that she might be able to discuss it with Ulick and her father afterwards. This beautiful melody, apparently so free, was so exquisitely contrived that it contained within itself descant and harmony. She knew it well; it is a strict canon in unison, and she had heard it sung by two grey-haired men in the Papal choir in Rome, soprano voices of a rarer and more radiant timbre than any woman's sexful ...
— Evelyn Innes • George Moore

... and troubled, seemed softened by the quiet of the scene. He threw loose his pilgrim's dress, yet suffering part of its dark folds to hang around him mantle-wise; under which appeared his minstrel's tabard. He took from his side a rote, and striking, from time to time, a "Welsh descant, sung at others a lay, of which we can offer only a few fragments, literally translated from the ancient language in which they were chanted, premising that they are in that excursive symbolical style of poetry, which ...
— The Betrothed • Sir Walter Scott

... Duty of tenement buildings. CHANCELLOR of the EXCHEQUER taken part in the Debate. CHARLES RUSSELL said a few words. House in most serious, not to say depressed mood. Subject particularly inviting for JESSE; always advocated welfare of Working Classes; now seized opportunity to descant on theme. Detailed with growing warmth arrangements desirable for perfecting sanitation of houses for Working Classes; when TANNER, crossing arms and legs, and cocking head on one side, with provoking appearance of keen ...
— Punch, or the London Charivari, Volume 98, May 17, 1890. • Various

... We descant volubly upon the subjects of citizenship and civilization but, as yet, have achieved no adequate definition of either of the terms upon which we expatiate so fluently. Our books teem with admonitions to train for citizenship in order that we may attain civilization of better ...
— The Reconstructed School • Francis B. Pearson

... creature galled to death and desperation by gad-flies, cormorant-winged, worse than beset Inachus's daughter. This he tells, this he brindles and burnishes, on a winter's eve; 't is his star of set glory, his rejuvenescence to descant upon, Far from me be it (da avertant!) to look a gift-story in the mouth, or cruelly to surmise (as those who doubt the plunge of Curtius) that the inseparate conjuncture of man and beast, the centaur-phenomenon that staggered all Dunstable, might have been the effect of unromantic ...
— The Best Letters of Charles Lamb • Charles Lamb

... that the historians of the time have not done Marie de Medicis justice. They expatiate upon her faults, they enlarge upon her weaknesses, they descant upon her errors; but they touch lightly and carelessly upon the primary influences which governed her after-life. She arrived in her new kingdom young, hopeful, and happy—young, and her youth was blighted by neglect; hopeful, ...
— The Life of Marie de Medicis, Vol. 1 (of 3) • Julia Pardoe

... observing me, detached himself instantly from the group, and followed. "I am told you want a pony," said he; "there now is mine feeding amongst those horses, the best in all the kingdom of Leon." He then began with all the volubility of a chalan to descant on the points of the animal. Presently the friar joined us, who, observing his opportunity, pulled me by the sleeve and whispered, "Have nothing to do with the curate, master, he is the greatest thief in the neighbourhood; if you want a pony, my brother has a much ...
— The Bible in Spain • George Borrow

... my time Into this breathing world scarce half made up, And that so lamely and unfashionable That dogs bark at me as I halt by them;— Why, I, in this weak piping time of peace, Have no delight to pass away the time, Unless to spy my shadow in the sun, And descant on mine own deformity: And therefore,—since I cannot prove a lover, To entertain these fair well-spoken days,— I am determined to prove a villain, And hate the idle pleasures of these days. Plots have I laid, inductions ...
— The Life and Death of King Richard III • William Shakespeare [Collins edition]

... drawing-room was to let; would the reverend gentleman come up and see it? Mr Bunker went up, and approved. They readily agreed upon terms, and the landlady, charmed with her new lodger's appearance and manners, no less than with the respectability of his profession, proceeded to descant at some length on the quiet, comfort, and numerous other advantages ...
— The Lunatic at Large • J. Storer Clouston

... the shape of compounds, such as mint-julep and its varieties; slings in all their varieties; cocktails, but I really cannot remember, or if I could, it would occupy too much time to mention the whole battle array against one's brains. I must, however, descant a little upon the mint-julep; as it is, with the thermometer at 100 degrees, one of the most delightful and insinuating potations that ever was invented, and may be drank with equal satisfaction when the thermometer ...
— Diary in America, Series Two • Frederick Marryat (AKA Captain Marryat)

... householder's heart, until one fine day, under the benign influence of "the cup that cheers," he yields, but intimating that his petitioners can never afford the marriage payments.[3] He will then probably recount the purchase price of this own wife, always with exaggerations; descant on the qualities of his daughter, her strength, her beauty, her diligence, her probable fecundity; and deplore the grievous loss to be sustained by her departure from her parents' side. Whereupon the visitors respond ...
— The Manbos of Mindano - Memoirs of the National Academy of Sciences, Volume XXIII, First Memoir • John M. Garvan

... Dear-stealer, that he might at the same time remember his Warwickshire Prosecutor, under the Name of Justice Shallow; he has given him very near the same Coat of Arms which Dugdale, in his Antiquities of that County, describes for a Family there, and makes the Welsh Parson descant very pleasantly upon 'em. That whole Play is admirable; the Humours are various and well oppos'd; the main Design, which is to cure Ford his unreasonable Jealousie, is extremely well conducted. Falstaff's Billet-doux, and ...
— Some Account of the Life of Mr. William Shakespear (1709) • Nicholas Rowe

... article with a short notice of an individual who, in the cast of his mind and in political principle, bears no very remote resemblance to the patriot and wit just spoken of, and on whose merits we should descant at greater length, but that personal intimacy might be supposed to render us partial. It is well when personal intimacy produces this effect; and when the light, that dazzled us at a distance, does not on a closer inspection turn out an opaque substance. This is a ...
— The Spirit of the Age - Contemporary Portraits • William Hazlitt

... others pleasure, and tyed and forced to serve the fantasies of others, being brought under by authoritie, and forced to stoope to the lure of their bare lesson; wee have beene so subjected to harpe upon one string, that we have no way left us to descant upon voluntarie; our vigor and libertie is cleane extinct. Nunquam tutelae suae fiunt: "They never come to their owne tuition." It was my hap to bee familiarlie acquainted with an honest man at Pisa, but such an Aristotelian, as he held this infallible position; that a conformitie to Aristotles ...
— Literary and Philosophical Essays • Various

... dishonoured him by a blow; and it was vain to ask redress for this affront from any but the highest personage in the state. Faliero, brooding over his own imagined wrongs, disclaimed that title, and gladly seized occasion to descant on his personal insignificance. "What wouldst thou have me do for thee?" was his answer: "Think upon the shameful gibe which hath been written concerning me, and think on the manner in which they have punished that ribald ...
— The Mirror of Literature, Amusement, and Instruction, Vol. 17, No. - 481, March 19, 1831 • Various

... its inhabitants I am unwilling to descant, because this will be done so much better by my fellow-traveller, in a work which may probably precede this in publication, that I as little wish to follow as I would to anticipate him.[214] But some few observations are necessary to the text. ...
— The Works of Lord Byron, Volume 2 • George Gordon Byron

... these dramas is the descriptive power and brilliant philosophy of the choruses. They are quite unconnected with the plot, and generally either celebrate the praises of some god, e.g., Bacchus in the Oedipus, or descant on some moral theme, as the advantage of an obscure lot, in the same play. The eclat of their style, and the pungency of their epigrams is startling. In sentiment and language they are the very counterpart of his other works. The doctrine ...
— A History of Roman Literature - From the Earliest Period to the Death of Marcus Aurelius • Charles Thomas Cruttwell

... myself, however, presume to descant on the subject of fried pies to the thousands who doubtless know all the details of their manufacture. Theodora first prepared her dough, sweetened and mixed like ordinary doughnut dough, rolled it like a thick pie crust and then ...
— When Life Was Young - At the Old Farm in Maine • C. A. Stephens

... like salt or pepper, well—we would bear it for sake of the Flag. Kimberley is a British stronghold, with a loyal population imbued with a fine sense of the invincibility of the British army. Many people were surprised to find that they could descant sincerely and patriotically upon the might and glories of the Empire. Even the Irish Nationalist seemed to feel that it took a nation upon whose territory the sun itself could not set to subjugate his native land; and he was moved to remind his Anglo-Saxon mates that the absent-minded beggars ...
— The Siege of Kimberley • T. Phelan

... the gross dull-witted Lads will not apprehend it, the middle sort of Wits will take no notice of what I write, and the supernatural wits will descant too much upon it; I must find out a remedy, and would willingly preserve all these over-wise-people to be my Friends still. I will now teach, instruct, and presently inform you, seeing that the Argument it self declares and pronounces its definitive sentence, therefore the ...
— Of Natural and Supernatural Things • Basilius Valentinus

... the Muse's bower; His lyre, like that to great Pelides strong, The soft'ning solace of a vacant boor, Its airy descant indolently rung. ...
— Poems (1828) • Thomas Gent

... had taken upon you to contrast Nature and Fortune, you could not have chosen a happier theme upon which to descant, for both have made a trial of their strength on the subject of your Memoirs. What Nature did, you had the evidence of your own eyes to vouch for, but what was done by Fortune, you know only from hearsay; and hearsay, I need not tell you, is liable to be influenced ...
— Marguerite de Navarre - Memoirs of Marguerite de Valois Queen of Navarre • Marguerite de Navarre

... evils and the tyranny of the butties or middlemen, and it will with little difficulty be felt that the public mind of this district was well-prepared for the excitement of the political agitator, especially if he were discreet enough rather to descant on their physical sufferings and personal injuries than to attempt the propagation of abstract political principles, with which it was impossible for them to sympathise with the impulse and facility of the inhabitants of manufacturing towns, members of literary and scientific ...
— Sybil - or the Two Nations • Benjamin Disraeli

... small, small part indeed Of what God had for thee to do Which I can sing; so I proceed To waft my meed of tribute through. For I would name, with pleasure too, The part performed by thy good wife. O, that I could in measure due Descant upon her Christian life. ...
— The Emigrant Mechanic and Other Tales In Verse - Together With Numerous Songs Upon Canadian Subjects • Thomas Cowherd

... be sustained, it may well be imagined that all the bon-vivants on earth, were they to meet at one table, could hardly produce such a variety of fine old Madeira, as the clerks of Funchal then sip and descant upon. In no place do mercantile clerks hold so respectable a position in society as here; owing to the tacit understanding between their principals and themselves, that, at some future day, they are to be admitted as partners in the houses. This ...
— Journal of an African Cruiser • Horatio Bridge

... descant a little here, on the Dignity and Beauty of these Feathers, being such as are hardly to be seen in any part of the World, but just ...
— The Consolidator • Daniel Defoe

... hostler who he was, and he replied, that he was a man of fashion (un seigneur) who lived in the neighbourhood of Auxerre. I was much mortified to find that I had treated a nobleman so scurvily, and scolded my own people for not having more penetration than myself. I dare say he did not fail to descant upon the brutal behaviour of the Englishman; and that my mistake served with him to confirm the national reproach of bluntness, and ill breeding, under which we lie in this country. The truth is, I was that day more than usually ...
— Travels Through France and Italy • Tobias Smollett

... syllable that has the alliterative beat, Skeat may certainly prove that all the later alliterative poetry has a movement of initial beat. But English ears will not submit to this rule. It is those light syllables of no account which have altered the rhythm of English descant from one of initial to one of ...
— Project Gutenberg Encyclopedia

... mercie, and eternall life, and at these times he wished her to confesse nothing to any of them, but continue constant in her made promise, rely vpon him, and hee would saue her. This was too high a straine aboue his reach to haue made it good, and a note of his false descant, who hauing compassed this wretched woman, brought her to a shamefull and vntimely end; yet doing nothing herein contrary to his malicious purposes, for hee was a murtherer from the beginning, Iohn 8. 44. Now ...
— A Treatise of Witchcraft • Alexander Roberts

... melancholy the rest of that day and night, and on the morrow he betook himself to Ali bin Bakkar, with whom he sat till the folk withdrew, when he asked him how he did. Ali began to complain of desire and to descant upon the longing and distraction which possessed him, and repeated these words of ...
— The Book of the Thousand Nights and a Night, Volume 3 • Richard F. Burton

... regret that they have never come across a woman to whom they cared to tie themselves for life might be in a position to descant on the inability of wives to enter into their husbands' inmost feelings, if only they—the bachelors—had known on a past occasion how to act with sudden promptitude on the ...
— Prisoners - Fast Bound In Misery And Iron • Mary Cholmondeley

... long left off using the waters, after having experienced their inefficacy. The diversions of the place they are not in a condition to enjoy. How then do they make shift to pass their time? In the forenoon they crawl out to the Rooms or the coffeehouse, where they take a hand at whist, or descant upon the General Advertiser; and their evenings they murder in private parties, among peevish invalids, and insipid old women — This is the case with a good number of individuals, whom nature seems to have intended ...
— The Expedition of Humphry Clinker • Tobias Smollett

... cruel Love hath made me shed, Cast from these cloudy eyes so dark with woe; Thou stream that still dost know What fell pangs pierce my heart, So dost thou murmur back my moan; Lone bird that chauntest tone for tone, While in our descant drear Love sings his part: Nymphs, woodland wanderers, wind and air; List to the sound out-poured from my despair! Seven times and once more seven The roseate dawn her beauteous brow Enwreathed with orient jewels hath displayed; Cynthia once more in heaven Hath orbed her horns with silver now; While ...
— Sketches and Studies in Italy and Greece, Second Series • John Addington Symonds

... Twilight gray Had in her sober Liverie all things clad; Silence accompanied, for Beast and Bird, 600 They to thir grassie Couch, these to thir Nests Were slunk, all but the wakeful Nightingale; She all night long her amorous descant sung; Silence was pleas'd: now glow'd the Firmament With living Saphirs: Hesperus that led The starrie Host, rode brightest, till the Moon Rising in clouded Majestie, at length Apparent Queen unvaild her peerless light, And o're the dark her Silver Mantle threw. When ...
— The Poetical Works of John Milton • John Milton

... at quite such a discount with Mrs. Mervale as with her daughter and her friend; and she continued to descant upon the high standing of Mr. Hazlewood the elder, not one word in ten of which the girls heard, for she, like most old ladies, once started upon former times, was thinking of the pleasant young John Hazlewood of ...
— Graham's Magazine Vol XXXIII No. 3 September 1848 • Various

... order to fulfil my duty and to remove the clouds arising from rumors and letters that will go there. I am here and see everything; and there is never a lack of those who tell many new things, and exaggerate matters that are not so great as they will relate and descant there, where no one can report and declare what has happened. ...
— The Philippine Islands, 1493-1898 (Vol 28 of 55) • Various

... descant upon, or even attempt to name, the many forms of Double Primrose; the object is more to direct the attention of the reader to one which is a truly valuable flower and ought to be in every garden. Let me at once state its chief points. Colour, yellow; flowers, large, full, clear, and sweetly ...
— Hardy Perennials and Old Fashioned Flowers - Describing the Most Desirable Plants, for Borders, - Rockeries, and Shrubberies. • John Wood

... a little bit embarrassed, however, as to how to open conversation. He hummed and hawed and was visibly uneasy. He tried to descant upon the weather, but the subject failed him. Finally, with an effort, he hitched his chair nearer to his host's and said in a low voice, "Ike, I reckon you has de confidence ...
— The heart of happy hollow - A collection of stories • Paul Laurence Dunbar

... fact, but it can be abundantly proved, that great numbers of the unfortunate strangers, who are carried from Africa to our colonies, are fraudulently and forcibly taken from their native soil. To descant but upon a single instance of the kind must be productive of pain to the ear of sensibility and freedom. Consider the sensations of the person, who is thus carried off by the ruffians, who have been lurking to intercept him. Separated from everything which he esteems in ...
— The History of the Rise, Progress and Accomplishment of the - Abolition of the African Slave-Trade, by the British Parliament (1839) • Thomas Clarkson

... kettledrums even unto trumpet and cymbal,—of instruments of wood, from winding serpents to octave flute,—and of fiddles of parchment, from the grosse caisse to the tambourine. Nor were ancient instruments wanting. These were of quaint forms and diverse constructions. Mr. Graeme would descant for hours on an antique species of spinnet, which he procured from the East, and which he vehemently averred, was the veritable dulcimer. He would display with great gusto, his specimens of harps of Israel; whose deep-toned chorus, had perchance thrilled through ...
— A Love Story • A Bushman

... concerns my embassy, being so much a fresh man as your Excellency sees I am in this Court, visible it is by what proceeds, I can as yet have nothing to descant or touch upon, but matter of ceremony only from and towards me, divisible into two considerations; the first, in reference to the past, of which I have already said the same hath been, as from, and to, other Ambassadors, in all this ...
— Memoirs of Lady Fanshawe • Lady Fanshawe

... much at large, for they were holy-minded persons, little esteeming the pageantries of this world. But my aunt, for Agnes Kilspinnie being in progress of time married to my father's fourth brother, became sib to me in that degree, was wont to descant and enlarge on the theme with much wonderment and loquacity, describing the marvellous fabrics that were to have been hung with tapestry to hold the ladies, and the fountains that were to have spouted wine, which nobody was to be allowed to taste, the same being ...
— Ringan Gilhaize - or The Covenanters • John Galt

... hurried me beyond the goal. Why should I sing the mighty darts Which fly to wound celestial hearts, When ah, the song, with sweeter tone, Can tell the darts that wound my own? Still be Anacreon, still inspire The descant of the Teian lyre: Still let the nectared numbers float Distilling love in every note! And when some youth, whose glowing soul Has felt the Paphian star's control, When he the liquid lays shall hear, His heart will flutter to his ear, And drinking there ...
— The Complete Poems of Sir Thomas Moore • Thomas Moore et al

... broke forth bright and serene. Marston and his guests, after passing a pleasant night, were early at breakfast. When over, they joined him for a stroll over the plantation, to hear him descant upon the prospects of the coming crop. Nothing could be more certain, to his mind, than a bountiful harvest. The rice, cotton, and corn grounds had been well prepared, the weather was most favourable, he had plenty of help, a good overseer, and faithful drivers. "We have plenty,-we ...
— Our World, or, The Slaveholders Daughter • F. Colburn Adams

... style correspondent to the proceeding,—lofty, indeed, but plain and consistent. Admit, however, for a moment, and merely for argument, that this gentleman had as good a right to continue as they had to begin these discussions; in candor and equity they must allow that their voluntary descant in praise of the French Constitution was as much an oblique attack on Mr. Burke as Mr. Burke's inquiry into the foundation of this encomium could possibly be construed into an imputation upon them. They well knew that he felt like other men; and ...
— The Works of the Right Honourable Edmund Burke, Vol. IV. (of 12) • Edmund Burke

... more and more complex, and especially as writing in several parts came into use (cf. rise of organum, descant, and counterpoint), it became increasingly difficult to express musical ideas on the basis of the old notation, and numerous attempts were made to invent a more accurate and usable system. Among these one of the most interesting was that ...
— Music Notation and Terminology • Karl W. Gehrkens

... not presume to descant on the merit of these speeches; but as it is no less new than honorable to find a popular candidate, at a popular election, daring to avow his dissent to certain points that have been considered as very popular objects, and maintaining himself on the manly confidence of his own opinion, ...
— The Works of the Right Honourable Edmund Burke, Vol. II. (of 12) • Edmund Burke

... but little necessary to descant here on the different fleeces, and various flavours of mutton which the numerous breeds of sheep afford. The least reflection and observation, teach us their unspeakable value as sources of food, clothing, and other purposes; my task therefore lies with their dispositions and comprehensions. ...
— Anecdotes of the Habits and Instinct of Animals • R. Lee

... and poetry whose only recommendation is its richness in the laboured conceits that he loved. So much did he esteem them that were, say, all English intellectual effort in every direction at his disposal to descant upon, his favourite genius ...
— A Boswell of Baghdad - With Diversions • E. V. Lucas

... if identified, are immediately removed, and, by means of family influence, interred with religious rites. Many suicides are buried at Nice and Mentone, but the larger proportion, farther off still. Not to descant further on this grim topic, let me now say ...
— In the Heart of the Vosges - And Other Sketches by a "Devious Traveller" • Matilda Betham-Edwards

... immediate affliction on them, had much dignity: dignity of an unrelenting physical order, which need not express any remarkable pride of spirit. The family gossips who, on both sides, were vain of this rare couple, and would always descant on their beauty, even when they had occasion to slander their characters, said, to distinguish them, that Henrietta Maria had a Port, and Melchisedec a Presence: and that the union of a Port and a Presence, and such a Port and such a Presence, ...
— The Shaving of Shagpat • George Meredith

... sad-faced, downright little woman who are so afraid that I am going to make your dear Aunt Emmy unhappy, you are thinking that you did not take a precarious seat on this trunk in order to hear a possible enemy descant on the ...
— The Lowest Rung - Together with The Hand on the Latch, St. Luke's Summer and The Understudy • Mary Cholmondeley

... mingled with the bird's descant another kind of singing. Beyond the yew-hedge as these two stood silent, breast to breast, passed young Jehan Kuypelant, one of the pages, fitting to the accompaniment of a lute his paraphrase of the song which Archilochus of Sicyon very anciently made in honor of Venus Melaenis, ...
— Chivalry • James Branch Cabell

... wagon began to descant glowingly upon the many advantages of going on a road hike aided by the service that such a specially constructed wagon would give. In fact, Mr. Titmouse dwelt so enthusiastically upon the value of his wagon ...
— The High School Boys' Training Hike • H. Irving Hancock

... she may descant On sacred kinship. If at home I give Disorder license, where will order reign? Whoever governs his own house aright Will be a worthy member of the State. The bold transgressor that defies the law, Or thinks to override authority, Need look for no encouragement ...
— Specimens of Greek Tragedy - Aeschylus and Sophocles • Goldwin Smith

... will, therefore, go, confidently relying upon receiving the stipulated reward on my return." Akaitcho did not seem prepared to hear such declarations from his brothers, and instantly changing the subject, began to descant upon the treatment he had received from the traders in his concerns with them, with an asperity of language that bore more the appearance of menace than complaint. I immediately refused to discuss this ...
— Narrative of a Journey to the Shores of the Polar Sea, in the years 1819-20-21-22, Volume 2 • John Franklin

... that the Sunne was climing vp in haste, To view the world with his ambitious eye. Faire Myrha; yet alas, more faire then chaste. Did set her thoughts to descant wantonly; Nay most inhumane, more then bad, or ill, As in the sequell you may reade ...
— Seven Minor Epics of the English Renaissance (1596-1624) • Dunstan Gale

... master of the chase, was the person who imparted knowledge to me on all subjects relating to Arabian horses. He would descant by the hour on the qualities of a colt that was yet untried, but which, he concluded, must possess all the perfections of its sire and dam, with whose histories, and that of their progenitors, he was ...
— The Mirror of Literature, Amusement, and Instruction - Vol. 10, Issue 285, December 1, 1827 • Various

... return, seemed glad to be with him. The doctor believed he read the reason of this joy in Valentine's anxiety to prove the depth of Julian's degradation. He had now begun to play devilishly upon a pathetic stop, and sought every occasion to descant upon the social ruin that was overtaking Julian, and his deep concern in the matter. This hypocrisy was so transparent and so offensive that there were moments when it stank in the doctor's nostrils, and he could scarcely repress ...
— Flames • Robert Smythe Hichens

... off and continued his stride, brandishing an aorist over my devoted head. The housekeeper waited unmoved till there fell a moment's break in his descant; and then, "You'd better drink it before it gets cold," she observed again, impassively. The wretched man cast a deprecating look at me. "Perhaps a little tea would be rather nice," he observed, feebly; and to my great relief he led the way into the garden. I looked about for the little ...
— The Golden Age • Kenneth Grahame

... everything is good human nature is still the best. A single substance comprises all that is, and no place is left for that profoundly decisive and destructive element called sin; all that we have to do is to descant on the marvelous loveliness of the world, the serene harmony of the universe, man's love of the true, the beautiful, and the good. Intellectual masters like Emerson and Renan. ignore conscience; they refuse to acknowledge the selfishness, the baseness, the cruelty ...
— The world's great sermons, Volume 8 - Talmage to Knox Little • Grenville Kleiser

... descant with the learned in dahlias over the merits of my lost beauty. "It was a cupped flower, Mr. Sutton," quoth I, to my agreeable and sympathising listener; (gardeners are a most cultivated and gentlemanly race;) "a cupped dahlia, of the genuine metropolitan ...
— The Lost Dahlia • Mary Russell Mitford

... France, at peace with itself, so the different nations of Europe could dwell in harmony as one country. Then would be no longer war, but civilisation; and cannon would only be seen as curiosities shut up in museums." M. Hugo proceeded to descant on the vast expense of keeping up standing armies, and the great advantages that would arise if such money were thrown into the channels of labour, by which commerce would be promoted and intelligence advanced. M. Hugo concluded ...
— The History of England in Three Volumes, Vol.III. - From George III. to Victoria • E. Farr and E. H. Nolan

... Mentor's manner, as well as behavior, that evening, I cannot but believe it to have been one of the usual ebullitions of the egoism, not to say of the uneasiness, known to those who were accustomed to hear the great moral philosopher discourse upon his own productions and descant upon those of a contemporary. During this same visit, he was dilating upon some question in poetry, when, upon Keats's insinuating a confirmatory suggestion to his argument, Mrs. Wordsworth put her hand upon his arm, saying,—"Mr. Wordsworth is never interrupted." Again, during ...
— Atlantic Monthly Volume 7, No. 39, January, 1861 • Various

... great filial regret.] I am sensible how unseemly it appears in a son to descant on the unamiable passions of a parent;—but, as we are alone, and friends,—I cannot help observing in my own defence,—that when a father will not allow the use of reason to any of his family—when his pursuit of greatness makes ...
— The Man Of The World (1792) • Charles Macklin

... chair. She wondered how many more times Mrs. Meadowsweet would descant on the elegancies of her drawing-room. She need not have feared. Whatever Mrs. Meadowsweet was she was honest; and at that very moment her eyes lighted on the felt which covered the floor. Mrs. Meadowsweet had never been trained in a school of art, but, as she said to herself, no one knew ...
— The Honorable Miss - A Story of an Old-Fashioned Town • L. T. Meade

... fourths and fifths, the intermovement of the voices, from being parallel and oblique, became contrary, thus avoiding the parallel succession of intervals. The name "organum" was dropped and the new system became known as tenor and descant, the tenor being the principal or foundation melody, and the descant or descants (for there could be as many as there were parts or voices to the music) taking the place of the organum. The difference between discantus and ...
— Critical & Historical Essays - Lectures delivered at Columbia University • Edward MacDowell

... with the voice—not before." He struck four simple chords on the lute, very gently, and with a sort of dainty preciseness; and then at the same moment the little pipe and his own voice began; the pipe played a simple descant in quicker time, with two notes to each note of the song, and the man in a brisk and simple way, as it were at the edge of his lips, sang a very sweet little country song, ...
— Paul the Minstrel and Other Stories - Reprinted from The Hill of Trouble and The Isles of Sunset • Arthur Christopher Benson

... through the groves, with quiet tread, On his accustomed haunts he sped, The mother-thrush, unstartled, sung Her descant to her callow young, And fearless o'er his threshold prest The wanderer from the sparrow's nest, The squirrel raised a sparkling eye Nor from his kernel cared to fly As passed that gentle hermit by. No timid ...
— Graham's Magazine Vol. XXXII No. 2. February 1848 • Various

... Englishman of a literary kind immensely popular in its day. English writers before Gally had, of course, commented on the character. Overbury, for example, in "What A Character Is" (Sir Thomas Overbury His Wife... 1616) had defined the character as "wit's descant on any plain-song," and Brathwaite in his Dedication to Whimzies(1631) had written that character-writers must shun affectation and prefer the "pith before the rind." Wye Saltonstall in the same year ...
— A Critical Essay on Characteristic-Writings - From his translation of The Moral Characters of Theophrastus (1725) • Henry Gally

... man who steered the boat on that occasion, as you all know, was the bridegroom? But—to turn from the particular to the general question—I am sure, Ladies and Gentlemen, that you will bear with me while I descant for a little on the wrong that is done to society by the present state of our laws in reference to the saving of life from shipwreck. Despite the activity of our noble Lifeboat Institution; despite the efficiency of her splendid boats, and the courage ...
— Saved by the Lifeboat • R.M. Ballantyne

... shown about him when his death was reported, and at the same time to explain that he had no hand in the report, which he did with the utmost solemnity of asseveration;[10] but he took this opportunity to descant on the conduct of the party towards him, of the press, of the people, and of the leading Whigs, talked of the flags of truce he had held out, and how they had been fired on, and that he must again arm himself for another fight. All this in a curious, disjointed style. ...
— The Greville Memoirs (Second Part) - A Journal of the Reign of Queen Victoria from 1837 to 1852 - (Volume 1 of 3) • Charles C. F. Greville

... best way. John Darrow was known in the neighbourhood as a "crank" on the subject of croquet. He had spent many hundreds of dollars on his grounds. His wickets were fastened to hard pine planks, and these were then carefully buried two feet deep. The surface of the ground, he was wont to descant, must be of a particular sort of gravel, sifted just so, and rolled to a nicety. The balls must be of hard rubber, and have just one-eighth inch clearance in passing through the wickets, with the exception of the two wires forming the "cage," ...
— The Darrow Enigma • Melvin L. Severy

... th Oneida chief His descant wildly thus begun But that I may not stain with grief The death-song of ...
— The Pioneers • James Fenimore Cooper

... inwardly rebelled at its task and thought of cool, green grottoes with heated men frantically falling over the home-plate, while the multitude belched bravos as Teddy McCorkle made three bases. Instead of the national game the class was wrestling with figured bass and the art of descant, and again it ...
— Old Fogy - His Musical Opinions and Grotesques • James Huneker

... draw Leander on, lest seas too high Should stay his too obsequious destiny: Who like a fleering slavish parasite, In warping profit or a traitorous sleight, Hoops round his rotten body with devotes, And pricks his descant face full of false notes; Praising with open throat, and oaths as foul As his false heart, the beauty of an owl; Kissing his skipping hand with charmed skips, That cannot leave, but leaps upon his lips Like a cock-sparrow, ...
— Hero and Leander and Other Poems • Christopher Marlowe and George Chapman

... descant Ornamental melody or counterpoint sung or played above a theme. Highest part sung in part music. Discussion or discourse ...
— Life and Public Services of John Quincy Adams - Sixth President of the Unied States • William H. Seward

... sayings. Each person stepped back delighted from the peep-show, and charmed the bystanders with the recital of the wonders he had witnessed. The beautiful Angelica now looked out of her window; and, hearing the Devil descant in so pious a tone, she felt an irresistible desire to see the wonders of his box, and to bestow alms upon the devout old showman. The Devil was sent for. Even he was struck by her wondrous beauty, her gentle manners, and her ingenuousness; but he became only so much the more ...
— Faustus - his Life, Death, and Doom • Friedrich Maximilian von Klinger

... shrill-note buglehorn, For joy my silly heart so near is spent: Desire, that eager cur, pursues the chase, And fortune rides amain unto the fall; Now sorrow sings, and mourning bears a part, Playing harsh descant on my yielding heart. ...
— A Select Collection of Old English Plays, Vol. IX • Various

... on such occasions was like his predecessor's coat, polychromatic. The Klosking read him, and wondered. "Alas!" said she, "with what versatile skill do you descant on a single circumstance ...
— The Woman-Hater • Charles Reade

... to decide against our country; but while decency makes a part of good manners, or feeling is preferable to a mechanical jargon, I am inclined to think the English have a merit more than they have hitherto ascribed to themselves. Do not suppose, however, that I am going to descant on the old imputations of "French flattery," and "French insincerity;" for I am far from concluding that civil behaviour gives one a right to expect kind offices, or that a man is false because he pays a compliment, and refuses a service: ...
— A Residence in France During the Years 1792, 1793, 1794 and 1795, • An English Lady

... not to any inadequacy in our methods of procedure. Yet the tenth case, the case where the criminal does beat the law by a technicality, does more harm than can easily be estimated. That is the one case everybody knows about, the one the papers descant upon, the one that cheers the heart of the grafter and every criminal who can afford to ...
— Courts and Criminals • Arthur Train

... man of the legal profession being not long since brought to see a study furnished with all sorts of books, both of his own and all other faculties, took no occasion at all to entertain himself with any of them, but fell very rudely and magisterially to descant upon a barricade placed on the winding stair before the study door, a thing that a hundred captains and common soldiers see every day without taking any notice ...
— The Essays of Montaigne, Complete • Michel de Montaigne

... about them. I have them dished up occasionally by mother, although she prefers to descant upon the immortal eighties, when she was a leader herself and 'money wasn't everything.' We never had so much of it anyhow. I know Grandfather Ballinger built this ...
— The Sisters-In-Law • Gertrude Atherton

... written in little more than a week, his "Eikonoklastes," a reply to a book published in February, did not appear until October 6th. His reluctance may be partly explained by his feeling that "to descant on the misfortunes of a person fallen from so high a dignity, who hath also paid his final debt both to nature and his faults, is neither of itself a thing commendable, nor the intention of this discourse." The intention it may not ...
— Life of John Milton • Richard Garnett

... Pedringano and tell him his pardon is in this boxe! Nay, I would haue sworne it, had I not seene the contrary. I cannot choose but smile to thinke how the villain wil flout the gallowes, scorne the audience, and descant on the hangman, and all presuming of his pardon from hence. Wilt not be an odde iest, for me to stand and grace euery iest he makes, pointing my figner at this boxe, as who [should] say: "Mock on, heers thy warrant!" Ist not a scuruie iest that a man should iest himselfe to death? Alas, poor ...
— The Spanish Tragedie • Thomas Kyd

... miracle connected with the church. The monkish historians descant with florid eloquence upon the white stag, which pointed out to Duke Ansegirus the spot where the edifice was to be erected; the mystic knife, inscribed "in nomine sanctae et individuae trinitatis," thus declaring to whom the building should be dedicated; and the roof, which, ...
— Account of a Tour in Normandy, Vol. I. (of 2) • Dawson Turner

... smooth and "candid" undermining of the reputation of the most perfect of our poets, and the purest of our moralists. Of his power in the passions, in description, in the mock heroic, I leave others to descant. I take him on his strong ground as an ethical poet: in the former, none excel; in the mock heroic and the ethical, none equal him; and in my mind, the latter is the highest of all poetry, because it does that in verse, which ...
— Life of Lord Byron, Vol. 6 (of 6) - With his Letters and Journals • Thomas Moore

... with extemporary buffoonery, and also at the end of the performance. And, as Heywood, in his "History of Women" (1624), says "By his mimic gestures to breed in the less capable mirth and laughter." On these occasions, it was usual to descant, in a humourous style, on various subjects proposed to him by the spectators; but they were more commonly entertained with what was termed a jig: this was a ludicrous composition in rhyme, sung by the Clown, accompanied by his pipe and tabor. In these jigs there ...
— A History of Pantomime • R. J. Broadbent



Words linked to "Descant" :   descant on, support, musical accompaniment, yodel, accompaniment, discuss, sing, discourse



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