Rev. Henry Boyd (died 18 September 1832) was an Irish poet, and an early translator of Dante.[1]


Boyd was the son of Charles Boyd, a farmer in Co. Tyrone. He studied under a Mr. Davidson, then attended Trinity College, Dublin, earning a B.A. in 1776.[2]

He published a translation of Dante's Inferno in English verse, the first of its kind, with a specimen of the Orlando Furioso of Ariosto, in 1785. It was printed by subscription, and dedicated to the Earl of Bristol, bishop of Derry. The dedication is dated from Killeigh, near Tullamore, of which place presumably Boyd was incumbent.[1]

As early as 1791 the "ingenious and unfortunate author" was seeking subscriptions for his original poems.[3] In 1793 he published Poems: Chiefly dramatic and lyric.[4]

In 1802 he issued 3 volumes of an English verse translation of the whole Divina Commedia of Dante, with preliminary essays, notes, and illustrations, which was dedicated to Viscount Charleville, whose chaplain the author is described to be in the title-page. In the dedication Boyd states that the terrors of the Irish rebellion, had driven him from the post of danger at Lord Charleville's side to seek a safe asylum in a "remote angle of the province."[1]

In 1805 he was seeking a publisher for his translation, of the Araucana of Ercilla, a long poem, which "was too great an undertaking for Edinburgh publishers," and for which he vainly sought a purchaser in London (ibid. 120, 149). In 1805 he published the Penance of Hugo: A wision, translated from the Italian of Vincenzo Monti, with two additional cantos; and the Woodman's Tale, a poem after the manner and meter of Spenser's Faery Queen. The latter poem formed really the first of a collection of poems and odes. These poems were to have been published at Edinburgh, and Boyd seems to have acted badly in making an engagement with a London house to publish them after they had been announced there.[5] In the title-pages to both these works the author is described as vicar of Drumgath in Ireland; but in all biographical notices and in the obituary record of the Gentleman's Magazine for September 1832, he is invariably described simply as vicar of Rathfriland and chaplain to the Earl of Charleville.[1]

Anderson, writing to Bishop Percy in 1806, says that he had received some squibs written by Boyd against Mone, and that the humour was coarse and indelicate.[6] In 1807 he issued the Triumphs of Petrarch, translated, into English verse, and in 1809 some notes of his on the Fallen Angels in Paradise Lost were published, with other notes and essays on Milton, under the superintendence of the Rev. Henry Todd.[7]

He died at Ballintemple, near Newry, at an advanced age.[7]




  • Dante, A Translation of the 'Inferno' of Dante Alighieri, in English verse. London: C. Dilly, 1785.
  • Dante, The Divina Commedia. London: A. Strahan, for T. Cadell jun. & W. Davies, 1802. Volume I, Volume II, Volume III
  • Petrarch, The Triumphs of Francesco Petrarch: Florentine poet laureate. London : Longman, Hurst, Rees, & Orme, 1805
  • Alonso de Ercilla y Zúñiga, A Sketch of the 'Araucana' of Don Alonao de Ercilla; with copious translations from that poem. New York: Alsop, Brannan, & Alsop, 1808.

Except where noted, bibliographical information courtesy WorldCat.[8]

See alsoEdit


  • PD-icon.svg Skottowe, Britiffe Constable (1886) "Boyd, Henry" in Stephen, Leslie Dictionary of National Biography 6 London: Smith, Elder, pp. 91-92 


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Skottowe, 91.
  2. Henry Boyd (1750-1832), English Poetry, 1579-1830, Center for Applied Technologies in the Humanities, Virginia Polytechic Institute & State University. Web, May 17, 2016.
  3. Nichols, Lit. Illustrations, vii. 717).
  4. Poems, chiefly dramatic and lyric : by the Rev. H. Boyd, WorldCat, OCLC Online Computer Library Center Inc. Web, May 2, 2016.
  5. Nicholson, 157
  6. Nicholson, 171
  7. 7.0 7.1 Skottowe, 92.
  8. Search results = au:Henry Boyd 1823, WorldCat, OCLC Online Computer Library Center Inc. Web, May 2, 2016.

External linksEdit

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