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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner Verses (Inscriptions by Turner) c.1807-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Folio 72 Recto:
Verses (Inscriptions by Turner) circa 1807–8
Turner Bequest XCVI 70
Inscribed by Turner in pencil (see main catalogue entry) on white laid paper, 163 x 92 mm
Inscribed by John Ruskin in red ink ‘70’ top right, running vertically
Stamped in black ‘XCVI 70’ top right, running vertically
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
See note to folio 68 of the sketchbook (D06053) for background to these verses. Rosalind Mallord Turner’s reading published in the 1990 Tate catalogue is adopted here, with significant variations noted in square brackets:
When gathering clouds above welkin borne
And Edding leaves portend an approaching storm
Oft hope kind gleams shed by the west
And fires the cloud with glory not their own
Then the dark prospect of my present care
No toiling hand no breezes fan my hair
With strong potion stain – hope – appear
Unheard scorching sighs the more do to fear
For Some I'll morn or the lengthning Vale
retains the light while lengthning shadow fail
Around his head beams high the sacred fire
The weary ...& by Poetry her soul inspire
For vanity
Now all laws dispute
The right of nature lies in common scorn
When evening glimmer ray, yet [stormy] falls
The last line is written along the side of the leaf.

David Blayney Brown
October 2006

How to cite

David Blayney Brown, ‘Verses (Inscriptions by Turner) c.1807–8 by Joseph Mallord William Turner’, catalogue entry, October 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-inscriptions-by-turner-r1130237, accessed 24 May 2022.