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Mare

The Cromlech at Gorwell, Dorsetshire, is called the White Mare; the barrows near Hambleton, the Grey Mare.

Away the mare
- i.e. Off with the blue devils, good-bye to care. This mare is the incubus called the nightmare.

To cry the mare
(Herefordshire and Shropshire). In harvesting, when the in-gathering is complete, a few blades of corn left for the purpose have their tops tied together. The reapers then place themselves at a certain distance, and fling their sickles at the “mare.” He who succeeds in cutting the knot cries out “I have her!”

“What have you?” “A mare.” “Whose is she?” The name of some farmer whose field has been reaped is here mentioned. “Where will you send her?” The name of some farmer whose corn is not yet harvested is here given, and then all the reapers give a final shout.

To win the mare or lose the haller
- i.e. to play double or quits. The grey mare is the better horse. (See Grey Mare.)

The two-legged mare.
The gallows. Shanks's mare. One's legs or shanks. Money will make the mare to go.

`Will you lend me your mare to go a mile?'
`No, she is lame leaping over a stile.'
`But if you will her to me spare,
You shall have money for your mare,'
`Oh, ho! say you so?
Money will make the mare to go.'

Old Glees and Catches.

Whose mare's dead?
What's the matter? Thus, in 2 Henry IV., when Sir John Falstaff sees Mistress Quickly with the sheriff's officers, evidently in a state of great discomposure, he cries,

“How now? Whose mare's dead? What's the matter?”- Act ii. 1.

Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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