Joseph Mallord William Turner

Verses (Inscription by Turner)


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Ink and graphite on paper
Support: 115 × 76 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CII 8 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:
Roared the fierce Geni of the northern main
Enflam’d, the north West passage to retain
Then with a fear benumbing look
Like the moon visage in a blood stained brook
Portentious [lurid inserted] shone summond all the host
Of wind and snow & never ceasing frost
Black Grim Typhon ... crouds
Slumbering in their Hall
Rushd from their Halls of congregated clouds
Did I for this command you to forbear
Your utmost power o’er the tempestuous air
But did you not allow the beam of day [play inserted]
Oer nights Latitudes to let in day
Or wished you all to brave the utmost pole
the northern soul
Or loose the frozen chain that binds the whole
Tis true I wish’d their Island [fame inserted] shoud share
That the stern soul should double honest [?= honour] bear
By our wharding influence with my Care
Should banish from their breast all though[t] of fear
These lines are written in pencil and overwritten in ink. For the North-West Passage and the death of the explorer Hugh Willoughby while in search of a North-East Passage see also folio 6 verso (D06732).

David Blayney Brown
March 2007

Read full Catalogue entry

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