Joseph Mallord William Turner

Inscription by Turner: Song Lyrics

1798–9

Not on display

Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 174 × 125 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D41425

Catalogue entry

Inverted relative to the sketchbook’s foliation, lines of verse inscribed in pen and ink take up the whole page:
Thee [sic] Breeze was fresh the Ship in stays
Each breaker hush’d the shore a haze
When Jack no more on duty call’d
His true love’s tokens overhaul’d
The broken gold the braided hair
The tender motto writ so fair
Upon his bacco box he views
Nancy the Poet love the muse
       If you loves I as I loves you
       No pair so happy as we two
The Storm that like a shapless [sic] wreck
Had strew’d with rigging all the deck
That tars for shark had given a feast
And left the Ship a hulk – had ceas’d
When Jack no more as with his mesmates [sic] [‘dear’ inserted above]
first payed the tribute of a tear
He [?share’d] their grog their hearts to cheer
Took from his bacco box a quid
And views for comfort on the lid
The battle that with horror grim
Had madly ravag’d life and limb
And scuppers drenched with human Gore
And widow’d many a Wife was o’er
When Jack to his companions dear
[?first] pay’d the tribute of a tear
Then as his tobacco Box he held
Restor’d his comfort [?has] he spell’d
There are eight further lines on the recto of this leaf (D01815; Turner Bequest XLII 139). For other pages of lyrics towards the end of this sketchbook, see the entry for the inside of the back cover opposite (D41426).

Andrew Wilton
March 2013

Read full Catalogue entry

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