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The Hal of Kirklees 5

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George Armitage.

Sir George Armytage 3rd Baronet of Kirklees (1734-1778)
Hal Piersons benefactor at Kirklees Hall.
George was the second son of Sir Samuel Armytage 1st Baronet and his wife Anne Griffith. He succeeded to the baronetcy in 1758 upon the death of his older brother John in the Battle of Saint Cast, France. He was MP for York 1761-1768 and High Sheriff of Yorkshire 1775-1776. He married Anna Maria Wentworth; they had 3 sons and 3 daughters.



      It is of other days a tale now ready to be told,
      Driving a moral like a nail, so therefore, lo, behold!

      The comic Hal, of Kirklees Hall, was, in his own queer way,
      As willing at a moment's call, as echo, to obey.

      And sometimes when no spoken word had touched his outward ear,
      He started, as in spirit stirred, by someone speaking near.

      It happen'd thus upon a day—a day in distant years,
      When summer's hand had wiped away all trace of nature's tears,—

      It was sheep-shearing time, in short, and Hal, who near would keep,
      Pronounced it as the primest sport, the shearing of the sheep.

      "How well," said he, "they wield the shears! and wherefore may
      not I?"
      A voice seemed urging in his ears, "Well, Hal, why don't you try?"

      "I will" he said, "and that I will, soon as the men have done,
      They mean to shear them all, but still, I'm in for number one!

      There's one about as fat as grease, reposing in the park,
      I'll bring it in, and shear its fleece, just at the edge of dark! "

      The merry twinkling in his eyes wrought by the secret whim,
      Created not the least surprise, 'twas natural to him.

      The evening came, the men had gone, said Hal, "My time is come,
      Now for the shears to act upon one of the creatures dumb! "

      "Come, come," said he, "haste, haste, post haste! was ever sheep so
      The shears upon the board are placed, there too, my lamb, you go."

      "There! stop that struggling! stop those screams! now for the
      shining shears!"
      But other tones rushed on in teams, attacking both his ears.

      "Why, Hal, whatever have you got?" cried voices strong and full;
      He answering said, "Unhappy lot! much cry, but little wool."

      Well might he for misfortune mourn; well droop in trouble deep;
      He had selected to be shorn a pig and not a sheep.

      The moral of the tale, you'll grant, is sensible and sound,
      Ne'er go seeking what you want where it cannot be found.

      JOHN SWAIN, Otley. Published in 1901.

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