1798 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Charles Lloyd

Robert Southey to William Taylor of Norwich, 1 October 1798; J. W. Robberds, Memoir of the Life and Writings of William Taylor (1843) 1:231-33.



And for Lloyd, he has so many idle habits of expense, that he is himself always in want. He is one of a very large family, and his father complains of his thoughtlessness in many matters. All this is very hopeless. I have besought him to think again, and have urged him to set about some literary employment, to try his strength. Half his discontent arises from mere indolence. It may amuse the present, and he will find it well to have something ready for the future. The period after his graduation does not alarm me so much. I look forward to an improved situation myself, and the means of assisting him: but I do not see how the first difficulties can be surmounted, and yet fear his resolution is irrevocable. Lloyd has promised me his tragedy, and I have been for some time vainly expecting it. You have well charactered him. A long acquaintance would enable you to add to what you have said, not to alter it. Lloyd is precipitate in all his feelings, and ready to be the dupe of any one who will profess attachment. I never knew a man so delighted with the exteriors of friendship. He was once dissatisfied with me for a coldness and freedom of manner: it soon wore off, and I believe he now sincerely regards me, though the only person who has ever upon all occasions advised, and at times reproved him, in unpalliated terms. Certainly he is a powerful reasoner, but he has an unhappy propensity to find out a reason for everything he does; and whether he drink wine or water, it is always metaphysically right. His feelings are always good, but he has not activity enough for beneficence. I look at his talents with admiration, but almost fear that they will leave no adequate testimony behind them. I love him, but I cannot esteem him, and so I told him. He thinks nothing but what is good, but then he only thinks. I fear he will never be useful to others or happy in himself.