“Jesus Lover of My Soul”


Original hymn: "Jesus, lover of my soul, Let me to thy bosom fly." Parody: "Jesus, lover of my soul, Set me on top of telegraph pole. When the pole begins to break, Take me down for Jesus's sake."


The Charles Wesley lyric seems to be very popular in churches; the Sacred Harp has it to the tune "Martin" (listed as by S. B. Marsh); I have seen a Baptist hymnal with both that tune (listed there as "Marsh") and the tune "Refuge" (by Joseph P. Holbrook). A Lutheran hymnal has the Marsh tune (called "Martyn"). And a Methodist hymnal reveals two texts, one to "Martyn" and one called "Hollingside" by John Bacchus Dykes (1823-1876). My best guess is that the Dykes tune is the only one written for these lyrics.

However, I have yet to find any of these texts in tradition. The "telegraph pole" parody, by contrast, *is* from tradition, though it's not clear how widespread it is. - RBW

You wanted it from tradition? Uncle Dave Macon! - PJS


  • Uncle Dave Macon, "Jesus Lover of My Soul" (Vocalion 5316, 1929; on CGospel1)
  • Rambling Rangers, "Jesus Lover of My Soul" (Vocalion 04628, 1939)


  1. BrownIII 347, "Jesus Lover of My Soul" (1 short text, the "telegraph pole" form)
  2. ADDITIONAL: Charles Johnson, One Hundred and One Famous Hymns (Hallberg, 1982), p. 41, "Jesus, Lover of My Soul" (1 text, 1 tune, credited to John B. Dykes)
  3. Roud #11737
  4. BI, Br3347


Author: Original words: Charles Wesley (1707-1788)
Earliest date: 1740 (publication); parody collected 1919
Found in: US(SE)