Joseph Mallord William Turner

Verses (Inscriptions by Turner)

1807–8

View this artwork by appointment, at Tate Britain's Prints and Drawings Rooms

Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 163 x 92 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D40653

Catalogue entry

See note to folio 68 of the sketchbook (D06053) for background to these verses. Rosalind Mallord Turner’s reading published in the 1990 Tate catalogue is adopted here, with significant variations noted in square brackets:
That man the price of lead not state
Can [?Thomson] cross only feel applause
Why native honor bleeds in England’s cause
Perish the common lot the constant toil
Pardon my muse the envious might
Then embark for my country's weal
Each pendant dew drop oer the dawn to steel
Like ...
The name of James Thomson, poet of The Seasons (1730), may be mentioned here. A further sixteen lines, now largely illegible, run from the opposite end of the cover board.
See note to folio 73 (D06061; Turner Bequest XCVI 71) for a poem discovered by Jerrold Ziff among the Turner papers in the British Library, and its relationship to verse in this sketchbook. This poem includes another version of the first four lines here;
That taste like lead by weight not thought be bought
For things exotic only feel applause
While native honor bleeds in England’s cause
Perish then commerce...1

David Blayney Brown
October 2006

1
British Library Add. MS. 46151–BB folio 1 verso.

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