I Come to the Garden Alone


I Come to the Garden Alone:  Words and Music by Charles Austin Miles, 1913

I come to the garden alone
While the dew is still on the roses
And the voice I hear, falling on my ear
The Son of God discloses

And He walks with me
And He talks with me
And He tells me I am His own
And the joy we share as we tarry there
None other has ever known

He speaks and the sound of His voice
Is so sweet the birds hush their singing
And the melody that He gave to me
Within my heart is ringing

And He walks with me
And He talks with me
And He tells me I am His own
And the joy we share as we tarry there
None other has ever known

I’d stay in the garden with Him
‘Tho the night around me be falling
But He bids me go; through the voice of woe
His voice to me is calling

And He walks with me
And He talks with me
And He tells me I am His own
And the joy we share as we tarry there
None other has ever known

Here is the account of how this beautiful hymn was written—from the hymn-writer C. Austin Miles himself. I am glad to share the name Austin with this great hymn writer.

Austin writes that one day in April, 1912, he was seated in the dark room, where he kept his photographic equipment and organ. He drew his Bible toward himself and it opened at his favourite chapter, John 20–whether it was by chance or inspiration let each reader decide. That meeting of Jesus and Mary had lost none of its power and charm to Austin Miles as he wrote this song.

As Austin Miles read that scripture that day, he seemed to be part of the scene. He became a silent witness to that dramatic moment in Mary’s life, when she knelt before her Lord, and cried, Rabboni! Austin’s hands were resting on the Bible while he stared at the fight blue wall. As the light faded, he seemed to be standing at the entrance of a garden, looking down a gently winding path, shaded by olive branches. A woman in white, with head bowed, hand clasping her throat, as if to choke back her sobs, walked slowly into the shadows. it was Mary. As she came to the tomb, upon which she placed her hand, she bent over to look in, and hurried away.

John, in flowing robe, appeared, looking at the tomb; then came Peter, who entered the tomb, followed slowly by John.   As they departed, Mary reappeared; leaning her head upon her arm at the tomb, she wept.  Turning herself, she saw Jesus standing, so did Austin Miles.  He knew it was He. She knelt before Him, with arms outstretched and looking into His face cried, Rabboni!

Mile writes that he awakened in sunlight, grip­ping the Bible, with muscles tense and nerves vibrating. Under the inspiration of this vision he wrote as quickly as the words could be formed the poem exactly as it has since appeared. That same evening he wrote the music.

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