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Comments by Bill - 27 Aug 2007

Re: The Lord God Planted a Garden and God's Garden

Mary and Frank,

I found "The Proud Vegetables" in a book entitled "The Melody of Earth: An Anthology of Garden and Nature Poems from Present-day Poets" by Gertrude Moore Richards. The website is:

Note that the poem by Dorothy Frances Gurney is also wrongly called "The Lord planted a garden." Note also that a poem entitled "God's Garden" by Richard Burton is listed just before this one???

Of Mrs. Gurney's poem, I have acquired the following correspondence from John Barton at Berkeley:

"The kiss of the sun for pardon,
The song of the birds for mirth,-
One is nearer God's heart in a garden
Than anywhere else on earth"

is the 4th of five verses of "God's Garden" by Dorothy Frances Gurney (nee Blomfield), 1858 - 1932, poetess and hymn-writer. She died at Notting Hill, London, but her burial-place is apparently unknown, and no photo or portrait available.

I would be interested to know when the above poem was written. The first edition of Gurney's collected poetry is "Poems", 1913. But this is not the first printing of the now very famous poem in question, of which the earliest I have so far located is in the form of sheet music: "God's Garden", sacred song with organ, or harmonium accompaniment, ad lib". The words by D F Gurney, and music by Frank Lambert; Chappell & Co. Ltd, 1902. The centenary of which is now immanent.

Details of any prior printing or manuscript would be appreciated.

***AbeBooks.com is selling a copy of Mrs. Gurney 1913 book entitled "Poems." I won't scare you by mentioning the price but the caption mentions this poem and calls it "God's Garden.' :

Description: 12mo - 19 x 13 cm.; Xiii - 111 pp. Gurney (1858-1932) , the wife of an Anglican clergyman (both converted to Roman Catholicism in later years) , wrote hymns and poems, the best known of which is God's Garden - "One is nearer God's Heart in a garden than anywhere else on earth. " Paper-covered boards with spine lettering, deckled edges. Some soiling on boards, bumped and worn corners; binding tight, pages clean apart from a third-party inscription on the front free endpaper. Bookseller Inventory # 12428

Sorry for being so long winded!

Go on to: Comments by Frank and Mary Hoffman - 27 Aug 2007

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