Guidelines for presentation of Published Verse
This online collection is intended to provide a standard source for scholarly study and citation of the poetical works of John and Charles Wesley. The sections presenting verse that John and Charles Wesley published during their lifetime were developed under the following guidelines to maximize reliability and usefulness.
- A comprehensive collection of verse published by John and Charles Wesley was compiled, drawing on Frank Baker’s copious research into publishers’ records and library holdings. Cf. Frank Baker. A Union Catalog of the Publications of John and Charles Wesley. Second (revised) ed., Stone Mountain, GA: George Zimmermann, 1991.
- The collection is organized in separate sections to allow study of John Wesley’s editorial role in collecting verse from a number of sources while highlighting the verse that can reasonably be ascribed to Charles Wesley’s hand.
- The collection is presented in chronological order, with short introductions for each listing that identify its original setting and its textual history.
- The first edition (or first available edition) of each work is used as the base text, with significant revisions or variant readings in later editions of that work identified in footnotes.
- The pagination of the first edition is preserved to help standardize references.
- When individual hymns or poems occur in more than one Wesley publication, the first occurrence is consistently footnoted in later settings.
- John Wesley’s occasional manuscript corrections of or comments on Charles’s independent publications are indicated in footnotes as appropriate.
- The text for John Wesley’s collections of hymns and poems includes all items, with those appropriated from other authors identified in the footnotes.
- The “original” version of the texts reproduces the spelling and punctuation used in the printed first edition, with the following exceptions:
- minor typographical errors are silently corrected
- modern principles of capitalization are adopted, since there was unevenness on this matter in various editions
- uses of cou’d, wou’d, and shou’d were expanded to could, would, and should — again, because of unevenness in this usage in later editions
- The “modern” version of the texts replaces archaic spellings (while retaining distinctive British spellings), expands contractions where modern pronunciation would not change the metre of the line, replaces Roman numerals with Arabic, and adopts the modern form for scripture citation.