Joseph Mallord William Turner

Verses (Inscription by Turner)

c.1808

In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Ink and graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 115 x 76 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D06737
Turner Bequest CII 9

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:
And in southern enfeebling climes afar
Should carry conquests bleeding spear
To every shore to strain the adventurous sail
And pursue in icy seas the Greenland whale
But you insidiously have given them pride
To dare these realms by mortals yet untry’d
Contentious as the warring clouds
At Winter Eve the Ariel power crouds
Accused enflame avengefull harm
In silence awful presagefull [as the coming inserted] of a storm
As the deep fermenting humor crouds the skies
Who rage [?against] cloud of varied dyes
Blots out the day to dismal darkness turnd
[All remainder deleted] Existenc[e] lost, save when lightning burns
With flash[ing] horror see the vivid light
That life destroy’d and peacefull nature blight
power but that piercing light
And scaiths all nature by its banefull light
That life destroys and natures blossom blight
These lines are written in pencil and overwritten in ink.

David Blayney Brown
March 2007

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