An allegorical essay on the miseries and indignities of the poetic career: "But in Apollo's court of fame | (In this all courts are much the same) | By Favour folks must make their way, | Favour which lasts, perhaps, a day, | And when you've twirl'd yourself about, | To wriggle in, you're wriggled out." The allegory may owe something to Lucifera's Palace in the Faerie Queene, though the imagery, like the sentiments of this poem, is common enough. "The Temple of Favour" was published in the waning days of Lloyd's career when the poet had little more to live on than the wounded pride which breaks forth in concluding lines claiming genteel status as an independent writer. He died in the Fleet prison December 15, 1764. The poem, signed "Robert Lloyd, M.A.," was not collected by Kenrick in Lloyd's Poetical Works.
William Tooke: "A few months after Lloyd's confinement, it was proposed, by his most intimate acquaintance, to raise a subscription for the purpose of extricating him from his immediate embarrassments. Our author made every possible exertion to forward this benevolent design, but all his efforts proved abortive. Unfortunately for Lloyd, his pretended friends were more ostentatious than liberal, and had meanly proposed what they did not possess sufficient spirit and generosity to carry into execution. What adversity alone can teach, he now learnt, the insincerity of the warmest professions, and the instability of the most inviolable friendships; Garrick, Thornton, Colman, and Hogarth, whom he had so frequently be-rhimed and bepraised, coolly abandoned him to his fate; Wilkes was abroad, and Churchill proved the only staunch and generous friend on whom he could safely rely for support in his distress. To the liberality of our author, and to the avarice of the booksellers, Lloyd was indebted for a tolerably comfortable subsistence during his tedious confinement" Poetical Works of Charles Churchill (1804) 1:xxxv-xxxvi.
The shepherd, who survey'd the deep
When all its tempests were asleep,
Dreamt not of danger; glad was he
To sell his flock, and put to sea.
The consequence has Aesop told,
He lost his venture, sheep, and gold.
So fares it with us sons of rhime,
From doggrel wit, to wit sublime;
On ink's calm ocean all seems clear,
No sands affright, no rocks appear;
No lightnings blast, no thunders roar;
No surges lash the peaceful shore;
Till, all too vent'rous from the land,
The tempests dash us on the strand:
Then the low pirate boards the deck,
And sons of theft enjoy the wreck.
The harlot Muse so passing gay,
Bewitches only to betray;
Tho' for a while, with easy air,
She smooths the rugged brow of Care,
And laps the mind in flow'ry dreams,
With Fancy's transitory gleams.
Fond of the nothings she bestows,
We wake at last to real woes.
Thro' ev'ry age, in ev'ry place,
Consider well the poet's case;
By turns protected and caress'd,
Defam'd, dependent, and distress'd;
The joke of wits, the bane of slaves,
The curse of fools, the butt of knaves;
Too proud to stoop for servile ends,
To lacquer rogues, or flatter friends;
With prodigality to give,
Too careless of the means to live:
The bubble fame intent to gain,
And yet too lazy to maintain;
He quits the world he never priz'd,
Pitied by few, by more despis'd;
And lost to friends, oppress'd by foes,
Sinks to the nothing whence he rose.
O glorious trade, for wit's a trade,
Where men are ruin'd more than made,
Let crazy Lee, neglected Gay,
The shabby Otway, Dryden grey,
Those tuneful servants of the Nine
(Not that I blend their names with mine)
Repeat their lives, their works, their fame,
And teach the world some useful shame.
At first the Poet idly strays
Along the greensward path of praise,
Till on his journies up and down,
To see, and to be seen, in town,
What with ill-natur'd flings and rubs
From flippant bucks, and hackney scrubs,
His toils thro' dust, thro' dirt, thro' gravel,
Take off his appetite for travel.
Transient is Fame's immediate breath,
Though it blows stronger after death;
Own then, with Martial, after fate
If glory comes, she comes too late.
For who'd his tune and labour give
For praise, by which he cannot live?
But in Apollo's court of fame
(In this all courts are much the same)
By Favour folks must make their way,
Favour which lasts, perhaps, a day,
And when you've twirl'd yourself about,
To wriggle in, you're wriggled out.
'Tis from the sunshine of her eyes
Each courtly insect lives or dies;
'Tis she dispenses all the graces
Of profits, pensions, honours, places;
And in her light capricious fits
Makes wits of fools, and fools of wits,
Gives vices, folly, dulness birth,
Nay stamps she currency on worth;
'Tis she that lends the muse a spur,
And even kissing goes by Her.
Far in the sea a temple stands
Built by dame Error's hasty hands,
Where in her dome of lucid shells
The visionary goddess dwells.
Here o'er her subject sons of earth
Regardless or of place, or worth,
She rules triumphant; and supplies
The gaping world with hopes and lies.
Her throne, which weak and tott'ring seems,
Is built upon the wings of dreams;
The fickle winds her altars bear
Which quiver to the the shifting air;
Hither hath Reason seldom brought
The child of Virtue or of Thought,
And Justice with her equal face,
Finds this, alas! no throne of Grace.
Caprice, Opinion, Fashion wait,
The porters at the temple's gate,
And as the fond adorers press
Pronounce fantastic happiness;
While Favour with a Syren's smile,
Which might Ulysses self beguile,
Presents the sparkling bright libation,
The nectar of intoxication,
And summoning her ev'ry grace
Of winning charms, and chearful face,
Smiles away Reason from his throne,
And makes his votaries her own:
Instant resounds the voice of fame,
Caught with the whistlings of their name.
The fools grow frantic, in their pride
Contemning all the world beside:
Pleas'd with the gewgaw toys of pow'r,
The noisy pageant of an hour,
Struts forth the statesman, haughty, vain,
Amidst a supple servile train,
With shrug, grimace, nod, wink, and stare,
So proud, he almost treads in air;
While levee-fools, who sue for place,
Crouch for employment from his Grace,
And e'en good Bishops, taught to trim,
Forsake their God to bow to him.
The Poet in that happy hour,
Imagination in his pow'r,
Walks all abroad, and unconfin'd,
Enjoys the liberty of mind:
Dupe to the smoke of flimsy praise,
He vomits forth sonorous lays;
And, in his fine poetic rage,
Planning, poor soul, a deathless page,
Indulges pride's fantastick whim,
And all the World must wake to Him.
A while from fear, from envy free,
He sleeps on a pacific sea;
Lethargic Error for a while
Deceives him with her specious smile,
And flatt'ring dreams delusive shed
Gay gilded visions round his head.
When, swift as thought, the goddess lewd
Shifts the light gale; and tempests rude,
Such as the northern skies deform,
When fell Destruction guides the storm,
Transport him to some dreary isle
Where Favour never deign'd to smile.
Where waking, helpless, all alone,
Midst craggy steeps and rocks unknown;
Sad scenes of woe his pride confound,
And Desolation stalks around.
Where the dull months no pleasures bring,
And years roll round without a spring;
Where He all hopeless, lost, undone,
Sees chearless days that know no sun;
Where jibing Scorn her throne maintains
Midst mildews, blights, and blasts, and rains.
Let others, with submissive knee,
Capricious goddess! bow to Thee;
Let them with fixt incessant aim
Court fickle favour, faithless fame;
Let Vanity's fastidious slave
Lose the kind moments nature gave,
In invocations to the shrine
Of Phoebus and the fabled Nine.
An author, to his latest days,
From hunger, or from thirst of praise,
Let him through every subject roam
To bring the useful morsel home;
Write upon Liberty opprest,
On happiness, when most distrest,
Turn bookseller's obsequious tool,
A monkey's cat, a mere fool's fool;
Let him, unhallow'd wretch! profane
The Muse's dignity for gain,
Yield to the dunce his sense contemns
Cringe to the knave his heart condemns,
And, at a blockhead's bidding, force
Reluctant genius from his course;
Write ode, epistle, essay, libel,
Make notes, or steal them, for the bible,
Or let him, more judicial, sit
The dull Lord Chief, on culprit wit,
With rancor read, with passion blame,
Talk high, yet fear to put his name,
And from the dark, but useful shade
(Fit place for murd'rous ambuscade)
Weak Monthly shafts at merit hurl,
The Gildon of some modern Curll.
For me, by adverse fortune plac'd
Far from the colleges of taste,
I jostle no poetic name;
I envy none their proper fame;
And if sometimes an easy vein,
With no design, and little pain,
Form'd into verse, hath pleas'd a while,
And caught the reader's transient smile,
My Muse hath answer'd all her ends,
Pleasing herself, while pleas'd her friends;
But, fond of liberty, disdains
To bear restraint, or clink her chains;
Nor would, to gain a Monarch's Favour,
Let Dulness, or her sons, enslave her.