Joseph Mallord William Turner

Inscription by Turner: A Draft of Poetry


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 157 × 95 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CXXXI 188 a

Catalogue entry

The whole page, inverted relative to the sketchbook’s foliation, is taken up with the following lines of verse:
Bind not the Poppy in thy Golden Hair
Autumn kind giver of the full eard sheaf
Those notes have often echo’d to thy care
Check not their sweetness with thy fallg leaf
Winter thy sharp cold winds bespeak decay
Thy snow fraught robe with Perls still entwine
Thy sisters will thy generous care repay
[?Bending] with the round Thomson’s hal[...]d shrine
Inspiring Spring with renovating fire
Shall pleasing bind those reeds Alxis [i.e. ‘Alexis’] playd
And breathing balmy kiss to the lyre
Give one soft note to lost Alxis shade
Oer Thomson tomb Morn dewy dew drop beams
True friendship tribute shed for Popes lost fane
Sunk is his House But worth and Verse yet gleams
Thy smile nor fear capricious fashions rign
[first half of line blank] trace Obliv[...] shade
[?whose generous] Care bids Thoms’ Harp arise
from P [blank] surveyd1
The poem, concerning the poet James Thomson, continues from folio 278 recto opposite (D09480; Turner Bequest CXXXI 189), under which its subject is discussed.

Matthew Imms
April 2014

See Wilton and Turner 1990, p.178 (transcription, followed here with slight variations); see also p.129.

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