1860 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Robert Lloyd

George Gilfillan, in Specimens with Memoirs of the less-known British Poets (1860) 3:126-27.



ROBERT LLOYD was born in London in 1733. He was the son of one of the under-masters of Westminster School. He went to Cambridge, where he became distinguished for his talents and notorious for his dissipation. He became an usher under his father, but soon tired of the drudgery, and commenced professional author. He published a poem called The Actor, which attracted attention, and was the precursor of The Rosciad. He wrote for periodicals, produced some theatrical pieces of no great merit, and edited the St. James' Magazine. This failed, and Lloyd, involved in pecuniary distresses, was cast into the Fleet. Here he was deserted by all his boon companions except Churchill, to whose sister he was attached, and who allowed him a guinea a-week and a servant, besides promoting a subscription for his benefit. When the news of Churchill's death arrived, Lloyd was seated at dinner; he became instantly sick, cried out "Poor Charles I shall follow him soon," and died in a few weeks. Churchill's sister, a woman of excellent abilities, waited on Lloyd during his illness, and died soon after him of a broken heart. This was in 1764.

Lloyd was a minor Churchill. He had not his brawny force, but he had more than his liveliness of wit, and was a much better-conditioned man, and more temperate in his satire. Cowper knew, loved, admired, and in some of his verses imitated, Robert Lloyd.