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Thorn, 1) a sharp prickle growing from the stem of a plant; a spine: Lucr. 492. Sonn. 35, 2. All's I, 3, 135. IV, 2, 19. IV, 4, 32. Wint. I, 2, 329. R2 IV, 323. H6A II, 4, 69. H6C III, 2, 175. V, 5, 13. Rom. I, 4, 26. The nightingale or Philomel supposed to lean, in singing, her breast against a thorn, to make her song more doleful: “whiles against a t. thou bearest thy part, to keep thy sharp woes waking,” Lucr. 1135. “she leaned her breast up-till a t., and there sung the dolefullest ditty,” Pilgr. 382. Figurative use: “those --s that in her bosom lodge,” Hml. I, 5, 87. “the --s we stand upon!” Wint. IV, 4, 596; and quibbling: “the roses fear-fully on --s did stand,” Sonn. 99, 8 (felt very uneasy).
2) a tree or shrub armed with spines: “the canker-blooms hang on such --s,” Sonn. 54, 7. “ne'er to pluck thee from thy t.” Pilgr. 238 and LLL IV, 3, 112. “through . . . pricking goss and --s,” Tp. IV, 180. “withering on the virgin t.” Mids. I, 1, 77. “a bush of --s,” III, 1, 61. “briers and --s,” III, 2, 29. “bush of t.” V, 136. “plant this t., this canker,” H4A I, 3, 176. H6A II, 4, 33. H6B III, 1, 67. H6C III, 2, 175. Figuratively: “among the --s and dangers of this world,” John IV, 3, 141.
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