1828 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Richard Llwyd

Leigh Hunt, in Lord Byron and some of his Contemporaries (1828) 388-90.



His name is Llwyd (for he would account it treason to his country to write it Lloyd), and he is author, among other pieces, of a poem entitled Beaumaris Bay, which obtained a great deal of praise from the critics. I say, "is," because I hope he is still alive to read this account of himself, and to attribute it (as he assuredly will do) to its proper motives. Mr. Llwyd was probably between thirty and forty when I knew him. His face and manner of speaking were as ancient British as he could desire; but these merits he had in common with others. What rendered him an extraordinary person was, that he had raised himself, by dint of his talents and integrity, from the situation of a gentleman's servant to a footing with his superiors, and they were generous and wise enough to acknowledge it. From what I was told, nothing could be better done on all sides. They encouraged, and, I believe, enabled him to make good his position; and he gave the best proof of his right to it, by the delicacy of his acquiescence. His dress was plain and decent, equally remote from sordidness and pretension; and his manners possessed that natural good-breeding, which results from the wish to please and the consciousness of being respected. Mr. Llwyd came to London at certain periods, took an humble lodging, and passed his time in visiting his friends, and reading at the Museum. His passion was for the antiquities of his native country. If you looked over his book, it was most probably full of the coat-armour of Wynnes and Prices. I was indebted to him for an introduction to his friend Mr. Owen, translator of the Paradise Lost into Welsh. Both of them were of the order of Bards; and Mr. Owen carried the same seal of his British origin in his face and manners, and appeared to possess the same simplicity and goodness. Furthermore, he had a Welsh harp in his room, and I had the satisfaction of hearing him play upon it. He was not very like Gray's bard; and instead of Conway's flood, and a precipice, and an army coming to cut our throats, we had tea and bread and butter, and a sung parlour with books in it. Notwithstanding my love of Gray, and a considerable wish to see a proper ill-used bard, I thought this a better thing, though I hardly know whether my friends did. I am not sure, with all their good-nature, whether they would not have preferred a good antiquarian death, with the opportunity of calling King Edward a rascal, and playing their harps at him, to all the Saxon conveniences of modern times.