926© Music and Lyrics by C. Austin Miles
Charles. Austin Miles * Lakehurst, NJ Jan 7, 1868
† Pitman, NJ Mar 10, 1946
It was 1912 that music publisher Dr. Adam Geibel asked C. Austin Miles to write a hymn text that would be “sympathetic in tone, breathing tenderness in every line; one that would bring hope to the hopeless, rest for the weary, and downy pillows to dying beds.” In George W. Sanville’s book, Forty Gospel Hymn Stories, Miles has left the following account of the writing of this hymn:
One day in March, 1912, I was seated in the dark room, where I kept my photographic equipment and organ. I drew my bible toward me; it opened at my favorite chapter, John 20-wether buy chance or inspiration let each reader decide. That meeting of Jesus and Mary had lost none of it’s power to charm.
As I read it that day, I seemed to be part of the scene. I became a silent witness to that dramatic moment in Mary’s life, when she knelt before her Lord, and cried, “Rabboni!”
My hands were resting on the bible while I stared at the light blue wall. As the light faded, I 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 place her hand, she bent over to look in, and hurries 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 I. I knew it was He. She knelt before Him, with arms outstretched and looking into His face cried “Rabboni!”
I awakened in full light, gripping the bible, with muscles tense and nerves vibrating. Under the inspiration of this vision I wrote as quickly as the words could be formed the poem exactly as it has since appeared. That same evening I wrote the music.i1
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.
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
I’d stay in the garden with him,
Though the night around me be falling,
but he bids me go,
thru the voice of whoe,
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 know.