Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

Lloyd, says, he was mild and affable in private life, of gentle manners, and very engaging in conversation. He was an excellent scholar, and an .easy, natural poet. His peculiar excellence was the dressing up an old thought in a new, neat, and trim manner. He was contented to scamper round the foot of Parnassus on his little Welch poney, which seems never to have tired. He left the fury of the winged steed, and the daring heights of the sacred mountain, to the sublime genius of his friend Churchill.

His attachment to the pleasures of the table, particularly to those of the bottle, in which be was induced to indulge himself too freely for his constitution, was a topic of much censure and complaint against him, both with his real and his pretended friends, except indeed those who shared in the convivial sodality.

The foremost of these jovial companions, his celebrated friend Churchill, attempted, on the other hand to apologize for hiin, and even to justify the practice as well by precept as example. His gay and spirited Epistle, entitled Night, inscribed to our Author, is a professed Apology, if not a formal justification of their nocturnal festivity.

When foes insult, and prudent friends dispense,
In pity's strains, the worst of insolence,
Oft with thee, Lloyd, I steal an hour from grief,
And in thy social converse find relief.
The mind, of solitude impatient grown,
Loves any sorrows rather than her own.

from the examples of Pope and Sterne.-In the present edi. tion this prelude is wholly omitted, being no ways essential to the Tale; and every thing has been expunged of a like tendency.--Epit.

Such is often the revenge of suicide genius. By railing at others it thinks to excuse itself; imputing to ignorance or malevolence the cause of that ruin in which, against its own better knowledge, it is inevitably as unpardonably involved.

Mr. Lloyd having resigned the Ushership of Westminster School, became an Author by profession; and, notwithstanding his decided merit, experienced most of the vicissitudes of fortune, to which gentlemen of that precarious profession are liable.

It is so natural a transition for a man of wit to become a man of the town, and for the expences, necessary to support the latter character, to exceed the income of the former, that it is no wonder our Author was induced to engage in publications that promised to produce profit rather than praise. Among these was the St. James's Magazine; from which many of the pieces contained in the following collection are extracted.

This work not meeting with that success, which from it's merit might be reasonably expected, our Author found himself unable to discharge some obligations of a pecuniary nature, which he had improvidently laid himself under on the flattering prospect of such success. The consequence of this disappointment was the exertion of that barbarous power given to the creditor over the person of the debtor, by permitting the imprisonment of the latter till the former be fully satisfied. Mr. Lloyd was of course confined within the walls of the Fleet.

It has been said, on this occasion, that " while this unhappy but most excellent Poct was under such restrictions, the Fleet became the seat of the Muses; and all the men of wit and genius in the age repaired to this gloomy temple. Such company dispelled the very idea of confinement, and gave his apartments the air of the Court of Apollo.”—Certain it was that Mr. Lloyd was visited in his confinement by a number of those who had, or would be thought to have pretensions to wit; but it was a just distinction he himself made between his numerous acquaintance, and those few, very few friends, by whom he was not wholly abandoned to misfortune*.

In conjunction with Mr. Charles Denis he at this time undertook a translation of the Contes Moraux of Marmontel : a hasty performance that did them little credit, and would have done them still less, had not a second attempt by Mr. Colman to translate that elegant Author at greater leisure, proved almost equally abortive.

Mr. Lloyd also during his confinement wrote a ballad opera, entitled the Capricious Lovers, taken from a favourite piece of another French Author. It was acted at Drury-lane Theatre with some applause; but not with so much as it merited.

The sensibility of Mr. Lloyd appears to have been greatly hurt by the colduess and contempt with which many of his brother wits and poetical friends behaved to him in his adversity. Of this he feelingly complains, in his Epistle to Mr.

Among these, perhaps, none merit particular attention but his staunch and generous friends Mr. Wilkes and Mr. Churchill; the latter allowing him a regular stipend of a guinea a week, from the commencement of his confinement till bis final release.

Woty; (see page 232) which Poem, with many others in his writings, serve to confirm the truth of the character given him by a contemporary writer; that he had a grateful heart, and shewed by his warm attachment to his friends, how extremely sensible he was of every kindness. It is a fact, that though the rigid moralist might have some reason to censure the irregularities of our Author's life, they were of such a nature as betrayed no intentional mischief or malevolence of temper; reflecting on him the character so well known under the denomination of No man's enemy but his own, rather than that of a friend only to himself and an enemy to others. If his grateful attachment to Mr. Churchill need any other proof than the fatal one of breaking his heart at his death, the following letters to their common friend: Mr. Wilkes, the one written before and the other after Mr. Churchill's decease, sufficiently speak our Author's apprehensions and sense of that. melancholy event:

MY DEAR WILKES, Your letters have given me inexpressible uneasiness concerning my friend Charles; and your not giving me a direction, leaves me in still greater anxiety that this may not reach you, and I consequently hear nothing how he does. Indeed we are all much alarmed; for though the seeming spirits of your letter to me gave us hopes it might not be so bad with him, that which Jack has received, entirely quashes them. Pray let me hear from you the earliest opportunity. I hope I shall not be doubly unfortunate in the loss of my friends, and be reduced to the comfortless necesa sity of brooding over my own calamities in this un-. grateful situation. Dear Wilkes, give me all the in-formation you can, and what services I can do, I in duty owe to you both; command. I am, in the sincerest affection, your's ever, R. LLOYD.,

DEAR WILKES, Tuesday, Nov. 20, Fleet. I will spare your own feelings and mine by any reflections on our irreparable loss. You did not, I imagine, receive my letter directed for you at an uncertainty, at the post-house, or if you did, you returned no answer, I suppose because you could give no comfort. I am pleased to find from Mr. Cotes, who communicated your letter to him this day to me, that. you will be kind to the remains of our dear friend. What is in my power to execute, you will direct and command. And I could much wish, you would, as early as you can, bring your mind to write on such a sub ject.-Do, if it is only for the sake of my consolation, who indeed most truly want it, write to me, and as the memory of Charles was dear to you, do not forget him, who is most unfortunate in the loss of the living and the dead friend. I am with the greatest sincerity of friendship and affection, your's ever, R. LLOYD.

The news of Mr. Churchill's death being announced somewhat abruptly to our Author, wbile he was sitting at dinner, he was seized with a sudden sickness, and saying “ I shall follow poor Charles,” took to his bed, from which he never rose again.

In his sickness he was attended by a favourite sister of his deceased friend, Miss Patty Churchill; of whom it is said that she possessed a considerable portion of the sense, spirit, and genius of her brother. This young lady is reported to have been betrothed to Mr. Lloyd, and that so mournful was the effect, which the melancholy catastrophe of her lover and brother had on her susceptible mind, that she caught the contagion

« ZurückWeiter »