1786 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. Henry Boyd

Anonymous, in "Some Remarks on Mr. Boyd's Translation of Dante" Gentleman's Magazine 56 (November 1786) 928-29.



Mr. Boyd resides in an obscure village in the neighbourhood of Tullamore, above five and forty miles from Dublin, blest with genius, a curacy of 50 per annum, and a wife and five children. But it is evident that, under such circumstances, the embellishments of life, and novelties of the finer arts, must be to him unknown and inaccessible. The principal inconvenience he suffers is from the want of conversation and suitable society. These he is deprived of; the corner he dwells in precluding such advantages. When he has occasion to come to Dublin, Mr. Boyd takes his staff in hand, and trudges on foot. We may therefore imagine such excursions cannot be very frequently repeated.
That a secluded country parson might be skilled in Latin, Greek, and Hebrew, is very possible. It is in the way of his profession, and what his education tends to. But that he should be well versed in the modern languages, and acquainted with authors who are seldom heard of except by mixing with the world and polite society, is extraordinary. However, perseverance and vigour of genius surmount any difficulties.