Joseph Mallord William Turner

Verses (Inscriptions by Turner)


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 163 × 92 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest XCVI 70 a

Catalogue entry

See note to folio 68 of the sketchbook (D06053) for background to these verses. Rosalind Mallord Turner’s reading published in the 1990 Tate catalogue is adopted here, with significant variations noted in square brackets:
Unhoused unfriended pelted by the Shower
Like the torn
Her heavy sigh with sad rember[ance]
When the poor lamb caught in the thorn
Which shelter gave with [?wool] to roll
Midwinter so niggard like bare insidious shades
Denys return [given inserted] its tender [fleece inserted] sides invades
When [?fierce] Aquarius reigns thr]o half the pole
At first rate judgement sooner bought [the land inserted ]
Each like thrilling shout the pregnant [shrill inserted] strand
Placd at your board or in the sunshine play
The parting crew as cravd like on
The wriggling salmon each though both pleases [Turner: praises]
Useless as thistles ... shew arts sister land
Stick to them alike oer its surface flee
as the dawn by every window creep
Glorious Wreck
Alas perhaps or soil of generous mould
No flimsy [Turner: fishy] cotton [muslin] but the arts open cold
Warm to the ray of arts but soon grow cold
but warm fallows
The weedy mischief all his treasure binds
Thomson or the whole the fresh Earth Wind
The last line names James Thomson, poet of The Seasons (1730).

David Blayney Brown
October 2006

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