1891 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Robert Lloyd

George Birkbeck Hill, Note in Boswell, Life of Johnson (1791); ed. G. B. Hill (1891) 1:457-58n.



Lloyd was one of a remarkable group of Westminster boys. He was a school-fellow not only of Churchill, the elder Colman, and Cumberland, but also of Cowper and Warren Hastings. Bonnell Thornton was a few years their senior. Not many weeks after this [1763] meeting with Boswell, Lloyd was in the Fleet Prison. Churchill in Independence (Poems, ii. 310) thus addresses the Patrons of the age:—

Hence, ye vain boasters, to the Fleet repair
And ask, with blushes ask, if Lloyd is there.

Of the four men who thus "enlivened" Boswell, two were dead before the end of the following year. Churchill went first. When Lloyd heard of his death, "'I shall follow Charles,' was all he said, as he went to the bed from which he never rose again." Thornton lived three or four years longer. Forster's Essays, ii. 217, 270, 289. See also his Life of Goldsmith, i. 264. for an account how "Lloyd invited Goldsmith to sup with some friends of Grub Street, and left h im to pay the reckoning." Thornton, Lloyd, Colman, Cowper, and Joseph Hill, to whom Cowper's famous Epistle was addressed, had at one time been members of the Nonsense Club. Southey's Cowper, 1. 37.