Joseph Mallord William Turner

Inscription by Turner: Draft of Poetry


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
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 11

Catalogue entry

The whole page is taken up with lines of poetry:
Thou gave remorse as strong desire
Engraved thee for to controule
To plunder merit richest soul
and from his lips to dash the bowl
That fame delivered to his hands
Rich with the [?worth] of every [‘distant’ inserted above] lands
Leave him to disapointments thirst
To feel by every one accursed
Or loaded with contempt to strive
and dead to joy and scarce alive
To nature bliss [?‘full’ inserted above] cheering ray
That lead him on in youthfull play
[‘What’ or ‘Which’ inserted above] Brought [Wilton and Turner: Wrought] him [‘on to’ inserted above] the memberd [Lindsay: manhood[s]] hight
With prospects gay & pleasures bright
To leave him to thy baneful sight
That thou hast for thy sad disgrace
Entaild upon his future race1
This is the third passage of a poem (‘O apathy unfriendly power’) which runs over five pages between folio 8 recto (D07368) and folio 14 recto (D07379); the previous section is on folio 9 recto (D07370), and it continues on folio 13 recto (D07378). 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); all but the first two lines previously transcribed with slight variations in Lindsay 1966, p.123.

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