Joseph Mallord William Turner

Verses (Inscription by Turner)


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 115 × 76 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CII 3 a

Catalogue entry

For the longer draft poems to which Turner’s verses belong, see Introduction to the sketchbook and note to folio 1 verso (D06722). Finberg did not transcribe the verses on this leaf and the reading given here was first made by Rosalind Mallord Turner for the 1990 Tate exhibition:
Thou bids the sailor hoist the pliant sail
That struggling flies beneath the rising gale
To the all pervading ...[?] fail
When the furious North & E Winds prevail
And kindest thoughts to stay him aught avail
In harsher accents all the storm defies
Alike to him the danger and the prize
Th[r]o every Wave the dauntless Sailor plies
He fears the rush of Equinoctial skies
For these undaunted plies the hardstrained Sails
Thro every wave and Equinoctial gale
O Winter the nurse & the bane of life
Thy very name bears oft domestic strife
The spur to Industry the misers fall
So Beastly [grainy deleted] His deep scored wall
bequeaths his wealth even to his eyes & cares denied
For fear denies
even fear forbids a gleam a light to share
a moments Knowledge of his golden care
Suspicion guide where real dangers fail
The fly might hum to him the sounding frail
O lovely Woman [with open mouth then to know deleted]
With sorrow feel alas why man did to bow
Obsequious at thy wealth of Gold displayed
Not of that worth ordain’d by Heaven [or Man inserted] to aid
Tho[u] bidst the Sailor hoist the pliant sail
When the fierce North & Eastern gales prevail
These lines are written in pencil and then overwritten in ink. For another version of the passage see folio 4 (D05727).

David Blayney Brown
March 2006

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