Boyd, Henry (1749?–1832), clergyman, poet, and translator, was born in Co. Tyrone, son of Charles Boyd, farmer; nothing is known of his mother. Educated by Mr Davison, he entered TCD as a sizar (June 1770), gained a scholarship (1773), graduated MA in 1776, and was ordained the same year. He was vicar of Killeigh, King's Co. (Offaly), from 1785 till 1809, when he resigned it to his son, Hannington Boyd. He held other benefices concurrently: he was incumbent (1795–1818) of Bodenstown, Co. Kildare, and was chaplain to the 1st earl of Charleville (qv). Alarmed by the rebellion of 1798, he sought safety away from Charleville's house in Dublin, and became vicar of Drumgath, Co. Down; he lived at Rathfriland. He became a member of the circle of literati around Bishop Thomas Percy (qv), and was well known as a poet, dramatist, and translator. His first book of poems appeared in 1793, and in 1805 he published another, which included translations from the Italian as well as verse plays. He sent many contributions to the Poetical Register. He was most celebrated as the first translator of Dante's Inferno into English verse (1785), and published the whole Divina commedia in three volumes, with notes (1802). He failed to find a publisher for a verse translation in thirty-six cantos of Ercilla's ‘Araucana’ in 1805, but in 1807 a translation of The triumphs of Petrarch appeared, followed in 1809 by essays and notes on Milton's Paradise lost. His version of Dante was widely known; it is almost certain that Samuel Taylor Coleridge read it, and that there are echoes of it in Coleridge's poem ‘Kubla Khan’. Hannington Boyd succeeded his father in Drumgath in 1809, and Henry Boyd was perpetual curate of Camlough, Co. Down (1818–32). The parish was mainly inhabited by Roman Catholics; by 1827, Boyd's assistant, who performed all parish duties, was paid for by the archbishop, and Boyd, though very elderly, was still engaged in scholarly activities. He died 18 September 1832 at Ballintemple, Co. Down.
Boyd married (30 July 1776) Elizabeth Irwin of St James's parish, Dublin. Two sons, Charles Boyd (d. 1872) and Hannington E. Boyd (d. 1864), were clergymen; the youngest son, Frederick, died at Hilltown in 1812, and there were three daughters, Anne Jane, Margaret, and Elizabeth. Thomas Percy Boyd (1819?–1876), a translator, poet, and contributor to London periodicals, and said to have been a friend of Dickens and Thackeray, was the son of Hannington E. Boyd.