Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Lloyd, David (1597-1663)

LLOYD, DAVID (1597–1663), author of the ‘Legend of Captain Jones,’ born at Berthlwyd in the parish of Llanidloes, Montgomeryshire, in 1597, was son of David Lloyd. His uncle, Oliver Lloyd, fellow of All Souls, advocate of Doctors' Commons, and a benefactor of Jesus College, Oxford, was appointed dean of Hereford in 1617, and held that preferment until his death in 1625 at the age of fifty-four. David matriculated from Hart Hall, Oxford, on 30 Oct. 1612, graduated B.A. 22 June 1615 (he was incorporated at Cambridge in 1616), was elected fellow of All Souls 9 May 1618, and proceeded B.C.L. in 1622, and D.C.L. in 1628. He obtained the post of chaplain to William Stanley, sixth earl of Derby, and was also, Wood suggests, comptroller of his household. He was made a canon of Chester in 1639 and was instituted on 2 Dec. 1641 to the rectory of Trefdraeth in Anglesey, upon resigning which he was in July 1642 instituted to Llangynhafal, and on 21 Dec. following to the vicarage of Llanfair Dryffyn Clwyd. In 1642 he was also appointed warden of Ruthin, Denbighshire. Deprived, and for a time imprisoned by the Long parliament, he was reinstated in his benefices upon the Restoration, and promoted to the deanery of St. Asaph in succession to Andrew Morris (1660), being two years later presented to one of the comportions of Llansannan. He died on 7 Sept. 1663 at Ruthin, where he was buried without any inscription or monument, though a humorous rhyming epitaph, said to have been written by himself, is printed by Wood (Athenæ, iii. 653). The epitaph bespeaks a jovial ecclesiastic who spent considerably more than his revenues on the pleasures of the table.

Lloyd is exclusively remembered by the jeu d'esprit which he produced very soon after leaving Oxford, entitled ‘The Legend of Captain Jones; relating his Adventures to Sea … his furious Battell with his sixe and thirty Men against the Armie of eleven Kings, with their overthrow and Deaths,’ &c., London, 1631, 4to. The legend or ballad, which opens with

I sing thy arms (Bellona) and the man's
Whose mighty deeds outdid great Tamerlan's,

is a genial, if somewhat coarse burlesque upon the extravagant adventures of a sea-rover called Jones, who, says Wood, ‘lived in the reign of Queen Elizabeth and was in great renown for his high exploits.’ The poem relates how with his good sword Kyl-za-dog Jones slew the mighty giant Asdriasdust, how eleven fierce kings made a brave but futile attempt to stay his triumphant progress, and how at last he was captured by the Spanish king at the expense of six thousand warriors, but at once ransomed by his countrymen, anxious to recover him on any terms. Elsewhere Wood says that the ‘Legend’ was a burlesque upon a Welsh poem entitled ‘Awdl Richard John Greulon;’ but the view that Jones was not an altogether mythical person seems to derive support from the fact that, in his ‘Rehearsal Transprosed’ (1776, ii. 19), Andrew Marvell says, apropos of the ‘Legend,’ ‘I have heard that there was indeed such a captain, an honest, brave fellow; but a wag that had a mind to be merry with him, hath quite spoiled his history.’ The ‘Legend’ at once obtained a great popularity. It was reissued in 1636, and with the addition of a second part in 1648. In 1656 appeared (in octavo) the edition described by Wood, with a frontispiece representing Jones ‘armed cap-a-pee, well-mounted on a war-horse, encountering an elephant with a castle on its back, containing an Indian king, shooting with arrows at the captain, under whose horse's feet lie the bodies of kings, princes, and lyons, which had been by him, the said captain, kill'd.’

In subsequent editions introductory poems were added, and in 1766 appeared a so-called second edition, with the title, ‘The Wonderful, Surprizing, and Uncommon Voyages and Adventures of Captain Jones to Patagonia, relating his Adventures to Sea, &c. … all which and more is but the Tythe of his own Relation, which he continued until he grew speechless and died, with his Elegy and Epitaph.’ But by this time the supplemental rodomontade of successive editors had almost entirely destroyed the naïve effect of the original version. Besides the ‘Legend,’ Lloyd is vaguely said by Wood to have written ‘certain songs, sonnets, elegies, &c.—some of which are printed in several books;’ these do not seem to have been identified. The ‘Legend’ was printed in its original form in the ‘Archæologist,’ 1842, i. 271.

[Wood's Athenæ, ed. Bliss, iii. 652, 653; Williams's Eminent Welshmen, p. 280; Browne Willis's Survey of St. Asaph, ed. Edwards, i. 173; Notes and Queries, 1st ser. xii. 30; Foster's Alumni Oxon. 1500–1714; Burrows's Worthies of All Souls, p. 474; Walker's Sufferings of the Clergy, pt. ii. p. 1; Hazlitt's Handbook, p. 338; Lowndes's Bibl. Man. ed. Bohn, p. 1375; Brit. Mus. Cat.]

T. S.