1780 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Samuel Boyse

William Cuming; in Nichols, Select Collection of Poems (1780-82) 6:348.



Boyse was a man of no party: whatever were his private sentiments, his public political creed was influenced by his necessities. In regard to his person, he was of a middle size, of a thin habit, slovenly in his dress, which was increased by his necessities, very near-sighted, and his hearing imperfect; these circumstances, added to his natural diffidence, and his not having been accustomed to appear in good company but as necessitous, and a mendicant, gave him an awkward sheepish air, which by no means prejudiced strangers in his favour. His liberal translation of Voltaire's three epistles on Happiness, Freedom of Will, and Envy, are well executed. They were published, without his name, in the year 1738; but I am a good witness they were written by him; for, when finished, as his cloaths were then deposited at the pawn-broker's, I treated with the late Mr. Dodsley for the manuscript, of whom I could only obtain a poor two guineas. The sheets were sent to me from the press for correction.