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 on paper
Support: 115 × 76 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CII 39

Catalogue entry

For the longer draft poems to which Turner’s verses belong, see Introduction to the sketchbook. Finberg was the first to transcribe the verses on this leaf. The more complete reading given here was made by Rosalind Mallord Turner for the 1990 Tate exhibition:
Scarce the dappled morn does rise
But Music sweet ascends the skies
The soaring Lark with fluttering wing
Does sweet her early matins sing
With var[y]ing tones at evenings hour
Sweet Philomela resumes her power
The echoing Woods the moonlight gleam
With silver radiance gilds the stream
The darkend heath once gay with Green
The feathered songsters hail their Queen
Impassioned spread their spotted wings
and Love with Music’s influence sings
O calmly sweet inspiring power
Shine not my low but anxious bower
Lulld with harmonious melody to rest
Let not one angry moment wound my breast
Another version of these lines is on folio 45 of the sketchbook (D06808). The passage on the skylark is inspired by John Milton’s L’Allegro (41–4):
Hear the lark begin his flight,
And, singing, startle the dull night,
From his watch-tower in the skies,
Till the dappled dawn doth rise

David Blayney Brown
March 2007

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