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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner Verses (Inscription by Turner) c.1808

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Folio 4 Recto:
Verses (Inscription by Turner) circa 1808
Turner Bequest CII 4
Inscribed by Turner in pencil and ink (see main catalogue entry) on white wove paper, 115 x 76 mm
Inscribed by John Ruskin in red ink ‘4’ bottom left, descending vertically
Stamped in black ‘CII 4’ bottom left, descending vertically
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
For the longer draft poems to which Turner’s verses belong, see Introduction to the sketchbook and note to folio 1 verso (D06722). Finberg did not transcribe the verses on this leaf and the reading given here was first made by Rosalind Mallord Turner for the 1990 Tate exhibition:
In harsher accents all the storm defyes
For the[e] he braves the crash of icey skies
The swallow Circling sees the rising skies
For Southern gales her full grown pinions trys
Leaves us to care to shrink beneath the blast
That to the ground the woodland honor cast
The crimsond briar the deadly night shade bare
Tells Winter keen approaching [does approach and piercing inserted] air
Chilld Nature sinking feels thy coming power
Deep thrilling feels the change at midnigh[t] hour
By long days and nights or
The blustring winds at Eve & driving rain
Each long drain[d] Pond pours oe’r again
Each way worn Path proves a [guides narrow inserted] rill
Each deep swoln ditch the dun colord river fill
Far oer the Vale [heath inserted] the Edding leaves are hurld
The chequered Vale shows natures robe unfurled
Of felon strong to rend the massy door
A life of misery by [more inserted] miserably poor
Extends his beastly hands to save store
Relieved from fear he only thirsts more more
Some of these lines are written in pencil and the overwritten in ink. There are further lines in pencil, very rubbed or erased and now illegible. For another version of the passage see folio 3 verso (D06726).

David Blayney Brown
March 2006

How to cite

David Blayney Brown, ‘Verses (Inscription by Turner) c.1808 by Joseph Mallord William Turner’, catalogue entry, March 2006, 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-verses-inscription-by-turner-r1130820, accessed 24 June 2024.