Joseph Mallord William Turner

Inscription by Turner: Draft of Poetry


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

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Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Pen and ink on paper
Support: 115 × 88 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CVIII 9

Catalogue entry

The whole page is taken up with lines of poetry:
In chequer garment sad arrayed
Disliked by all the sons of earth
Disclaimed by all men from their birth
No welcome found in any roof
But chid with words of sharp reproof
In kindness wished to escape
Tho didst sustain our willing rape
Remorse oertook on the way
When midnight darkens oer the day
Remorse of cold [Lindsay: wild] ambition born
With head erect but heart of thorn
The dourfull moment then allaid
Infiderence then lent her aid
Futurity even gave her curse
and Merlin wishd to be a nurse
With [?ramblest] eye to give <[?a]> force
And cherish [long smudge or deletion] in his course
With heaving loins with eye of fire1
This is the second passage of a poem (‘O apathy unfriendly power’) which runs over five pages between folio 8 recto (D07368) and folio 14 recto (D07379); it continues on folio 11 recto (D07374). For a concordance of the extensive passages of poetry in this book, see the sketchbook Introduction.

Matthew Imms
June 2008

See Wilton and Turner 1990, p.163 (transcription, followed here with slight variations); lines ten, thirteen and fourteen previously transcribed with slight variations in Lindsay 1966, p.123.

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