Joseph Mallord William Turner

Verses (Inscriptions 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 45

Catalogue entry

For the longer draft poems to which Turner’s verses belong, see Introduction to the sketchbook. Finberg did not transcribe the verses on this leaf, and the reading given here was made by Rosalind Mallord Turner for the 1990 Tate exhibition:
Scarce the dappled morn does rise
But Musick’s sweets ascend the skies
The soaring Lark with fluttering wings
And [does inserted] sweet her early matins sings
High oer her nests her matins sings
And Pleasure
In varying sweets at Evening close
Poor Philomela sings her woes
[silvery moonlights gleam inserted]
By the glittering moon whos[e] beam
In [whose inserted] sparkling radiance gilds the stream
The darken’d heath now gay with green
returning Spring
feathered songsters hail their queen
Impassioned spreads their spotted wings
and Love with Musicks influence sings
The music sweet and
Shun not the roof of my low bower
With low harmonious melody to rest
Nor let one angry passion wound my breast
For another version of this passage, with comment, see folio 39 of the sketchbook (D06796); in each case, the passage on the skylark echoes John Milton’s L’Allegro (41–4).

David Blayney Brown
March 2007

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