1812 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Robert Lloyd

John Nichols, in Literary Anecdotes of the XVIII Century (1812-15) 2:330-31n.



Son of Dr. Pierson Lloyd (who was second master of Westminster school, afterwards Chancellor of York, and portionist of Waddesdon, Bucks; and whose learning, judgment, and moderation, endeared him to all who partook of his instructions, during a course of almost 50 years spent in the service of the publick at Westminster school. He had a pension from his Majesty of 400 a year for his own life; and died Jan. 5, 1781. The pension ceased on his death; but 100 a year, I am told, was afterwards granted to his widow, and 50 a year to each of his two daughters. But I am not now certain of the sum; as others say it was only 50 to the widow). — Robert was educated, under his father, at Westminster; and was thence admitted of Trinity college, Cambridge, and took the degree of B.A. 1755; and M.A. 1758. At the University, as at Westminster, he distinguished himself by his poetical genius and (sorry I am to add) by his irregularities. He was for some time employed as one of the ushers of Westminster school, where he wrote the Poem which gave occasion to this note [The Actor], which not only gave proofs of great judgment in the subject he was treating of, but had also the merit of smooth versification and great strength of poetry. In the beginning of the Poetical War, which for some time raged among the Wits of that age, and to which the celebrated Rosciad sounded the first charge, Mr. Lloyd was suspected to be the author of that poem. But this he honestly disowned, by an advertisement in the public papers; on which occasion the real author, Mr. Churchill, boldly stepped forth, and in the same public manner declared himself; and Churchilliads, Examiners, &c. which for a long time kept up the attention, and employed the geniuses, of the greatest part of the critical world. After Mr. quitted his place of usher of Westminster school, he relied entirely on his pen for subsistence; but, being of a thoughtless and extravagant disposition, he soon made himself liable to debts which he was unable to answer. In consequence of this situation, he was confined in the Fleet prison, where he depended for support almost wholly on the bounty and generosity of his friend Churchill, whose kindness to him continued undiminished during all his necessities. On the death of this liberal benefactor, Mr. Lloyd sunk into a state of despondency, which put an end to his existence, on the 15th of December, 1764, in less than a month after he was informed of the death of Mr. Churchill. Mr. Wilkes says, that "Mr. Lloyd was mild and affable in private life, of gentle manners, and very engaging in conversation. He was an excellent scholar, and an easy natural poet. His peculiar excellence was, the dressing up an old thought in a new, neat, and trim manner. He was contented to scamper round the foot of Parnassus on his little Welsh pony, which seems never to have tired. He left the fury of the winged steed, and the daring heights of the sacred mountain, to the sublime genius of his friend Churchill."