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: 185 × 108 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CVI 36

Catalogue entry

Turner’s verses read:
Sweet as the fragrant gale that blow[s]
By dewy morn oer opening rose
Sweet as the flower as calls the Bee
To revel deep in Luxury
Sweet as the Thyme on Sunny Bankl
That morns first ray delighted drank
Sweet as the honey drop that binds [?holds]
The wanton fly in trechrous [twines deleted] lines folds
Such sweets do[es] summer gaily [shed deleted] pour
Oer man and filed oer hill oer flower
Such sweets as these does Summer shed lead
Oer Sunny hill and flowering Glades mead
But when Autumn streaks the dawn
The timid drop dew hangs brightening on the thorn
Few the sweets that Autumn yields
The enfeebled Bee forsaken the fields
The drooping year the shortnen’d day
No glittering rays oer fallow play
Few gilding mornings clears the skies
But fog or mist oer uplands flies
This is another passage or variant passages from a poem about autumn, begun on folio 2 verso of the sketchbook (D07134); the line ‘Few the sweets that Autumn yields’ is reprised from what had appeared to be the opening stanza. See also folio 35 verso (D07173). A further version is in the Greenwich sketchbook (Tate D06725; Turner Bequest CII 3). The text given here is based on the reading made by Rosalind Mallord Turner for the 1990 Tate exhibition.

David Blayney Brown
July 2010

Read full Catalogue entry

You might like

In the shop