[Rev] Henry Boyd

Life
?1756-1832 [‘Dante Boyd’]; b. Derry; grad. TCD 1776; protegé of Thomas Percy while bishop of Dromore; Chaplain to Earl of Charleville, President of the RIA; fled rebels in 1798; vicar of Rathfriland; made reputation with trans. of Dante’s Inferno (1785), publishing the continuation up to 1802; wrote four plays variously based on Thucydides and the Old Testament and described as ‘dramatic poems’ though complete with stage-directions, being The Helots (q.d.), The Rivals (q.d.), The Royal Message (q.d.), The Temple of Vestra (q.d.), all printed in his Poems (Dublin 1793); also translated Petrarch; d. nr. Newry. ODNB PI DIW RAF DUB OCIL

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Works
Poems
, Chiefly Lyric and Dramatic (Dublin 1793); The Wood[s]man’s Tale and The Royal Marriage: A Drama (London 1805); The Inferno of Dante, With a Specimen of Orlando Furioso of Ariosto, in English Verse (London 1785); The Divina Commedia of Dante in English Verse, 3 vols. (London 1802); The Penance of Hugo: A Vision, from the Italian of Monti, with Additional Cantos (London 1805); The Triumph of Petrarch, Trans’d into English Verse (London 1807) .

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References
Peter Kavanagh, Irish Theatre (Tralee 1946), listing The Helots, trag.; The Temple of Vesta [var. Vestra], dram. poem; The Royal Message, dram. pastoral; The Rivals, sacred dram., based on Uriah and David, all appearing in his volume of poetry, 1793; trans. Dante’s Inferno.

D. J. O’Donoghue, The Poets of Ireland: A Biographical Dictionary (Dublin: Hodges Figgis & Co 1912); b. circa 1756 prob. in Derry, died nr. Newry; lists Poems chiefly lyric and dramatic (Dublin 1793); The Wood[s]man’s Tale and The Royal Marriage: a drama (London 1805). His translations include The Inferno of Dante with a spe cimen of Orlando Furioso of Ariosto in English verse (1785); The Divina Commedia of Dante in English verse, 3 vols., 1802; The Penance of Hugo: a vision, from the Italian of Monti, with add. cantos (1805) and the Triumph of Petrarch, trans’d into English verse (1807). See also Patrick Rafroidi, Irish Literature in English: The Romantic Period, 1789-1850 (Gerrards Cross: Colin Smythe 1980), and Irish Book Lover, Vols. 3, 13, 17.

Bergquist, Catalogue to Wells Microfiche, lists four plays under ‘Henry Boyd (d.1732)’, viz., The Helots, trag. of Messenians enslaved by Spartans, after Thucydides, 5 acts in verse; The Rivals, a Sacred Drama, in which Zalmon destroys his rival-in-passion, set in Joshua’s Jerusalem; The Royal Message, with David, Absalom, Achitophel, Joab, et al., in Jerusalem; and, The Temple of Vestra, in which a female Canaanite, converted to ‘the true faith’, is tempted away by Demons, in Jericho [the biblical story is of a prostitute, from a word which Boyd translates as ‘innkeeper’, making her the daughter of a caravanserai-owner], all these plays in his Poems (Dublin 1793), and described in their respective prefaces as dramatic poems or poems, though complete with stage-directions.

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