Charles Wesley’s Manuscript Verse

Scholarly study of Charles Wesley has been hampered by uneven access to the significant body of verse that he left in manuscript at his death, most of which is still extant. This body of verse includes both manuscript precursors to many items in Wesley’s published collections and over 4,420 distinct new hymns and poems that remained unpublished at his death.

George Osborn included portions of this material in his 13-volume collection of The Poetical Works of John and Charles Wesley (1868-72). But Osborn did not distinguish between published and manuscript items, which is one of the features of his collection that restricts its adequacy as a standard source.

More recently, S T Kimbrough Jr. and Oliver A. Beckerlegge published a 3-volume collection of Unpublished Poetry of Charles Wesley (1988-92), which dramatically increased scholarly access to Wesley's manuscript verse. While very helpful, as the title indicates, this collection does not include surviving manuscript drafts for hymns that Charles Wesley published during his lifetime and reproduces manuscript items in Osborn’s collection only if his version is incomplete.

The present online collection of the poetical works of John and Charles Wesley is committed to providing as broad and convenient of access as possible for scholarly study and citation. This subsection of the collection contributes to that goal by presenting all of the known surviving manuscript verse of Charles Wesley (in transcriptions or by notation). It includes the large collection of the Methodist Archive and Research Centre at The John Rylands University Library in Manchester, England, as well as scattered manuscript items at a number of other sites.

The manuscripts are presented in accordance with a set of guidelines to maximize reliability and usefulness. They are organized below in broad topical groupings.

A list of the short titles and abbreviations for Wesley publications that are used throughout this collection is available.

The texts are in (pdf) format that is searchable using Adobe Reader 7.0 and above.

Transcripts of Manuscript Verse

Zipped file containing a complete set of transcripts (.zip file)

Assorted Looseleaf Manuscript Verse

General Collections

MS Cheshunt
MS Clarke
MS Drew
MS Epistles
MS Festivals
MS Hymns for Love
MS Intercession
MS Malefactors
MS Miscellaneous Hymns
MS Miscellaneous Hymns (drafts)
MS Miscellaneous Verse 1786
MS Occasional Hymns
MS Preparation for Death
MS Richmond
MS Richmond Tracts
MS Shent
MS Shorthand Verse
MS Six
MS Thirty

Courtship and Family Collections

MS Courtship
MS Deliberative Hymns
MS Epistle to Martha Wesley
MS Family
MS Friendship I
MS Friendship II
MS Helen Durbin
MS Hymns for Wedding Anniversaries
MS Ludlow
MS Nursery
MS Prayer for Truth
MS Prayer for Truth (drafts)
MS Samuel Wesley, R.C.
MS Sarah Wesley
MS Travail
[Note: MS Miscellaneous Poems, below in Political Verse, contains some verse on sons]

Illness, Death, and Funeral Hymns

MS Funeral Hymns (1756-87)
MS Baker
MS Death of Ebenezer Blackwell
MS Death of Elizabeth Blackwell
MS Death of Prudence Box
MS Death of Hannah Butts
MS Funeral Hymns for Hannah Butts
MS Death of Hannah Dewal (drafts 1 & 2)
MS Death of Bartholomew Gallatin (drafts 1 & 2)
MS Henderson
MS Hendrix
MS Death of William Hitchens
MS Death of Mary Horton (drafts 1, 2, & 3)
MS Death of John Matthews (drafts 1 & 2)
MS Death of Dr. John Middleton (drafts 1 & 2)
MS Death of Thomas Waller (drafts 1 & 2)
MS Death of Charles Worgan (drafts 1 & 2)
MS Sarah Bulgin
MS Small Pox
Charles Wesley on his own death

Lay Preacher and Ordination Related Verse

Assorted Verse on 1784 Ordinations
MS Address to a Friend
MS Brothers
MS Ordinations
MS Preachers
MS Preachers 1779
MS Preachers 1786
MS Preachers 1786 (drafts)
MS Preachers Extraordinary
MS Revd -
MS Tribute to John Wesley

Political Verse

MS American Loyalists 1783
MS Charles James Fox 1784
MS Howe (drafts 1 & 2)
MS Hymn for King George 1769
MS Hymns for King and Queen 1780
MS Hymn for the King 1784
MS Miscellaneous Poems
MS Patriotism
MS Patriotism (drafts)
MS Protestant Association

Scripture Collections

MS Acts
MS Fish (includes MS Emory)
MS John
MS Luke
MS Mark
MS Matthew
MS Psalms
MS Scriptural Hymns (OT)
MS Scriptural Hymns (NT)

Translations of Latin Classics

Verse in Manuscript Letters