His translation from the Arabic of Yusuf ibn Taghri Birdi, the Rerum Egypticarum Annales, appeared in 1792, and in 1796 a volume of Specimens of Arabian Poetry, from the earliest times to the fall of the Caliphate, with some account of the authors. Carlyle was appointed chaplain by Lord Elgin to the embassy at Constantinople in 1799, and prosecuted his researches in Eastern literature in a tour through Asia Minor, Palestine, Greece and Italy, collecting in his travels several valuable Greek and Syriac manuscripts for a projected critical edition of the New Testament, collated with the Syriac and other versions; a work, however, which he did not live to complete.
On his return to England in 1801 he was presented by the bishop of Carlisle to the living of Newcastle-on-Tyne, where he died on the 18 April 1804. After his death there appeared a volume of poems descriptive of the scenes of his travels, with prefaces extracted from his journal. Among other works which he left unfinished was an edition of the Bible in Arabic, completed by H. Ford and published in 1811.