Robert Lloyd - Poet
English poet. Son of Pierson Lloyd (ca. 1704-1781). Educated at Westminister School and at Trinity College, Cambridge, from which he graduated (M.A.) in 1758. He was also a member of the infamous Nonsense Club with Bonnell Thornton, George Colman, William Cowper and others. Author of the popular poem The Actor (1760) and the comic opera The Capricious Lovers (1764), which was first performed at Drury Lane just a few weeks before his death. Co-author, with George Colman, of Ode to Obscurity and Ode to Oblivion, both published in the early 1760s and both being satires on the works of poets Mason and Thomas Gray. Co-editor of St. James Magazine (1762-3).
Lloyd was often in debt and apparently died in Fleet Prison on December 15, 1764, shortly after the death of his lifelong friend Charles Churchill, to whose sister, Patty, he was engaged. The lives of Churchill and Lloyd have been condemned by many. The Dictionary of National Biography reads that Lloyd "joined Charles Churchill in a reckless career of dissipation," and Vulliamy, in his biography of Boswell, wrote that "Lloyd fortunately extinguished himself [died] when he was thirty-one, ruined by his friendship with Churchill."
He was buried from St. Brides on December 19, 1764.1
- 1. Sources to this article include:
Venn, J. A., comp. Alumni Cantabrigienses. London: Cambridge University Press, 1922-1954.
Barker, G. F. Russell and Alan H. Stenning, comp. The Record of Old Westminsters. Volumes I-II. London: Chiswick Press, 1928.
The Dictionary of National Biography Founded in 1882 by George Smith, Vol. I-XX, XXII. London, England: Oxford University Press, 1921-22.
Boswell met Robert Lloyd in the company of the other so-called London Geniuses (Thornton, Wilkes and Churchill) at Bonnell Thornton's on May 24, 1763. The group "were high-spirited and boisterous, but were very civil to me [Boswell] [...] From this chorus, which was rather too outrageous and profane, I went and waited upon Mr. Samuel Johnson".1
Some of Lloyd's writings can often be found via the AbeBooks used books search engine. Among them are The Actor and The Capricious Lovers.