J.M.W. Turner: Sketchbooks, Drawings and Watercolours

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner Inscription by Turner: Draft of Poetry; with Continuation of a House among Trees on a River c.1809

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Folio 29 Verso:
Inscription by Turner: Draft of Poetry; with Continuation of a House among Trees on a River circa 1809
D07401
Turner Bequest CVIII 29a
Pencil and pen and ink on white wove paper, 88 x 115 mm
Inscribed by Turner in ink (see main catalogue entry) to left of drawing, running vertically
 
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
The left-hand half of the page is taken up with lines of poetry, written with the book turned vertically:
Love between them take a rest
[‘And’ inserted above] Revels in thy downy nest
The rival in his lair I’ll Kill
So prithee dear Molly lye still
By the touch of lip or rove of my hand
By the critical moment no Maid can withstand
Then a bird in a bush is worth two in the hand
O Molly dear Molly. [blank] I will1
The poem begins (‘Be still my dear Molly be still’) on the recto of this leaf (D07400), and the same verses appear, with variations, on both sides of folio 31 (D07403, D07404). For a concordance of the extensive passages of poetry in this book, see the sketchbook Introduction.
It is unclear whether Turner first wrote the verse, later using the rest of the page for a group of trees extending from the main (horizontal) composition on folio 30 recto opposite (D07402), or made use of the blank space beyond the drawing for the verse.

Matthew Imms
June 2008

1
See Lindsay 1966, p.162 (partial transcription); and Wilton and Turner 1990, p.165 (transcription, followed here with slight variations).

How to cite

Matthew Imms, ‘Inscription by Turner: Draft of Poetry; with Continuation of a House among Trees on a River c.1809 by Joseph Mallord William Turner’, catalogue entry, June 2008, in David Blayney Brown (ed.), J.M.W. Turner: Sketchbooks, Drawings and Watercolours, Tate Research Publication, December 2012, https://www.tate.org.uk/art/research-publications/jmw-turner/joseph-mallord-william-turner-inscription-by-turner-draft-of-poetry-with-continuation-of-a-r1136597, accessed 23 January 2021.