Careful Words

descant (n.)

descant (v.)

Now came still evening on, and twilight gray

Had in her sober livery all things clad;

Silence accompany'd; 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 amorous descant sung;

Silence was pleas'd. 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 mantle threw.

John Milton (1608-1674): Paradise Lost. Book iv. Line 598.