1771 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Robert Lloyd

Anonymous, "Anecdote of Robert Lloyd" Oxford Magazine 7 (September 1771) 107-08.



While Mr. Lloyd was confined in the Fleet Prison he was frequently visited by Mr. Churchill, Bonnell Thornton, Esq; &c. &c. who, together with some other Gentlemen (Prisoners) would often make parties to spend the evening in Mr. Lloyd's apartment. These meetings were always the scenes of riot and debauchery, and seldom ended before the next morning. In one of these nocturnal revellings, when they were all heated with wine, it was proposed by Mr. Churchill that each Gentleman should write a parody of the Creed in verse, and in the most obscene manner that their imagination could suggest. He who succeeded was to be treated that and the next meeting by the others; those who failed, or would not attempt it, were to be punished by drinking off two pint bumpers of Port. The proposal was immediately embraced by the major part; and Mr. Lloyd was unanimously chosen Judge; he was sworn and inaugurated, by pouring a pint of wine over him: he was then seated in a chair placed upon the table. In less than half an hour seven or eight parodies were produced to the Judge, who, after perusing them all with the gravity of a Cato, pronounced judgment by giving the preference to that wrote by Capt. Hubbard (a Gentleman in company) swearing a great oath that it had the wit and obscenity of Rochester, united with the luscious ideas of Jack Wilkes; that they had already turned many sacred things into ridicule with the greatest success; and was the former but now alive, they might all together form a triumvirate, which, from their similarity of principles and ideas, might parodize the whole system of Religion with the greatest ease; and that he would be so far answerable for the wit of the present age, as to affirm that their works would be read with the greatest avidity by all ranks of People.