Henry Martyn was born in Cornwall in 1781. Following a brilliant academic career at Cambridge University, he was ordained in 1803 as curate to Charles Simeon. He was not accepted by the Church Missionary Society, however, and was disappointed again when his proposal of marriage was rejected.
In 1805, he sailed to Calcutta, India, as chaplain to the East India Company. His outstanding linguistic gifts enabled him to translate he New Testament into Hindustani.
He nearly died in 1809 due to incipient tuberculosis; but the Lord spared him, and he traveled to Shiraz, Persia (modern-day Iran), the following year. He completed Arabic and Persian translations of the New Testament while there.
He died in 1812 while traveling back to England. He was buried in Tokat, Armenia. His journals were returned to England and remain classics of devotional literature.