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Check the text of Hamlet; Claudius refers to putting a carbuncle into a
wine cup to reward the victor of the duel. Purple is the color of
royalty. Becoming emperor of Rome was referred to, if I remember
correctly, as "assuming the Purple" -- ie.e putting on the imperial
garments, which were purple. Hence 

Tom Gray wrote:
> 
> Carbuncle -  Royal combined with  desease
> ===============
> 
> A carbuncle is an abscess larger than a boil, usually with one or more openings draining pus onto the skin. It is usually caused by bacterial infection, most commonly Staphylococcus aureus. The infection is contagious and may spread to other areas of the body or other people.
> en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbuncle
> 
> ----- Original Message ----
> From: Carrol Cox <[log in to unmask]>
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Sent: Fri, April 23, 2010 5:52:08 PM
> Subject: Re: Narcissus's complexion
> 
> Carbuncle  (gemstone) - Wikipedia:
> A carbuncle is an archaic name given to any red cabochon cut gemstone.
> The name applied particularly to red garnet.
> 
> This radical an ambiguity (acne or royal color) is unusual in poetry,
> but Eliot may have intended it here.
> 
> Carroo