1782 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Robert Lloyd

Isaac Reed, in Biographia Dramatica; or, A Companion to the Playhouse (1782) 1:285-86.



ROBERT LLOYD. Was the son of Dr. Peirson Lloyd, and was formerly one of the ushers of Westminster-school. He was author of a poem called 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 this age, and to which the celebrated Rosciad sounded the first charge, Mr. Lloyd was suspected to be the author of that poem. That charge, however, he exculpated himself from, 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 drew on that torrent of Anti-Rosciads, Apologies, Murphiads, Churchilliads, Examiners, &c. which for a long time kept up the attention and employed the geniuses of the greatest part of the critical world.

Mr. Lloyd was some time of the university of Cambridge, where he took the degree of M.A. After he 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 his 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 loss 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 true manner. He was contented to scamper round the font of Parnassus on his little Welch poney, which seems never to have tired. He left the fury of the winged steed and the daring flights of the sacred mountains to the sublime genius of his friend Churchill."

As a dramatic writer his fame was not very great. The following is a list of his works:

1. The Tears and Triumph of Parnassus. 4to. 1760.
2. Arcadia; or, The Shepherd's Wedding. D. F. 8vo. 1761.
3. The New School for Women. C. Printed in The Saint James's Magazine, 1763.
4. The Death of Adam. T. 12mo. 1763.
5. The Capricious Lovers. C. O. 8vo. 1764.