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 8 Verso:
Verses (Inscription by Turner) circa 1808
Turner Bequest CII 8a
Inscribed by Turner in pencil and ink (see main catalogue entry) on white wove paper, 115 x 76 mm
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:
Roared the fierce Geni of the northern main
Enflam’d, the north West passage to retain
Then with a fear benumbing look
Like the moon visage in a blood stained brook
Portentious [lurid inserted] shone summond all the host
Of wind and snow & never ceasing frost
Black Grim Typhon ... crouds
Slumbering in their Hall
Rushd from their Halls of congregated clouds
Did I for this command you to forbear
Your utmost power o’er the tempestuous air
But did you not allow the beam of day [play inserted]
Oer nights Latitudes to let in day
Or wished you all to brave the utmost pole
the northern soul
Or loose the frozen chain that binds the whole
Tis true I wish’d their Island [fame inserted] shoud share
That the stern soul should double honest [?= honour] bear
By our wharding influence with my Care
Should banish from their breast all though[t] of fear
These lines are written in pencil and overwritten in ink. For the North-West Passage and the death of the explorer Hugh Willoughby while in search of a North-East Passage see also folio 6 verso (D06732).

David Blayney Brown
March 2007

How to cite

David Blayney Brown, ‘Verses (Inscription by Turner) c.1808 by Joseph Mallord William Turner’, catalogue entry, March 2007, 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-r1130829, accessed 24 June 2024.