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Canker, subst., 1) a worm that preys upon blossoms: “this c. that eats up love's tender spring,” Ven. 656. “loathsome c. lives in sweetest bud,” Sonn. 35, 4. “c. vice the sweetest buds doth love,” 70, 7. “like a c. in the fragrant rose,” 95, 2. “a vengeful c. eat him up to death,” 99, 12. “grief that's beauty's c.” Tp. I, 2, 415. “in the sweetest bud the eating c. dwells,” Gentl. I, 1, 43. “kill --s in the musk-rose buds,” Mids. II, 2, 3. “the --s of a calm world and a long peace,” H4A IV, 2, 32. “that this good blossom could be kept from --s,” H4B II, 2, 102. “hath not thy rose a c.?” H6A II, 4, 68. H6A II, 4, 68 “full soon the c. death eats up that plant,” Rom. II, 3, 30. “the c. galls the infants of the spring,” Hml. I, 3, 39. “to let this c. of our nature come in further evil,” V, 2, 69.
2) a corroding evil: “and heal the inveterate c. of one wound by making many,” John V, 2, 14. “banish the c. of ambitious thoughts,” H6B I, 2, 18. “the c. gnaw thy heart,” Tim. IV, 3, 49.
3) the dog-rose: “I had rather be a c. in a hedge than a rose in his grace,” Ado I, 3, 28. “to put down Richard, that sweet lovely rose, and plant this thorn, this c. Bolingbroke,” H4A I, 3, 176. cf. canker-bloom.
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