Lloyd, Evan (DNB00)

LLOYD, EVAN (1734–1776), poet, second son of John Lloyd of Vrondderw, near Bala, and a descendant of Robert Lloyd of Rhiwgoch, M.P. for Merioneth in 1601 (Parl. Ret. i. 441), was born in 1734, and educated at Jesus College, Oxford, whence he matriculated as a scholar on 22 March 1751, and graduated B.A. in 1754 and M.A. in 1757. After taking orders and serving for a short time a curacy in London, he was, about 1762, presented to the vicarage of Llanvair Dyffryn Clwyd in Denbighshire. In his Welsh parsonage he devoted himself to cultivating the vein of satirical humour of which he had given evidence before going to Oxford. His first satire, ‘The Powers of the Pen; a poem addressed to John Curre, Esquire,’ was written in 1765, and is chiefly concerned with an attack upon the two chief critics of the day:

Warburton—learning turned to curds,
Johnson—a catacomb (sic) of words.

This was followed in 1766 by ‘The Curate; a poem, inscribed to all the Curates in England and Wales,’ which dwells mock-heroically upon the woes of curates and the slights put upon them alike by ‘pursy rectors’ and by the more frivolous portions of society, and ‘The Methodist; a poem,’ which appears to cloak a venomous attack upon a neighbouring squire, a certain ‘T-s-d.’ This indiscretion subjected Lloyd to an action for libel and an imprisonment in the king's bench, where he laid the foundations of a firm friendship with a fellow-prisoner and kindred spirit, John Wilkes. ‘The Conversation; a poem,’ appeared in 1767, and his last poem, an ‘Epistle to David Garrick, Esq.,’ in 1773. The latter is adorned with an emblematic frontispiece, in which Nature is depicted ‘leaning on the sarcophagus of Shakespeare, crowning Genius with laurel.’ The ‘Epistle’ gained for Lloyd, who was already intimate with Churchill, Colman, and other wits of the time, the warm friendship of Garrick. The actor visited him at Llanvair and presented him with a drinking-cup, beautifully carved out of the famous mulberry tree in the form of the head of Shakespeare, moulded in silver and engraved with Garrick's crest. The cup is now in the possession of Rice Hugh Anwyl, esq., of Bala (Williams, p. 563). Two interesting letters from his poetical admirer are included in Garrick's ‘Correspondence’ (ed. 1832, i. 409, ii. 95). Unfortunately, a covert allusion in the ‘Epistle’ to William Kenrick [q. v.] as a ‘be'doctored bat’ conspired with his praise of Garrick to evoke Kenrick's very easily aroused wrath. In ‘A Whipping for the Welsh Parson’ he mocked and bespattered Lloyd and other ‘filthy Yahoos’ associated with him with his usual smart ferocity. Lloyd, who seems to have attempted no further imitations of Churchill's style, died unmarried in January 1776 (Gent. Mag. 1776, p. 94). He was buried in the family vault at Llanycil Church, Merionethshire; his epitaph, describing his ‘keen wit’ and ‘strong sense,’ being written by Wilkes.

[Williams's Eminent Welshmen, p. 563; Foster's Alumni Oxon. 1715–1886; Notes and Queries, 5th ser. iii. 108; Watt's Bibl. Brit. p. 611; Lloyd's works in British Museum Library.]

T. S.