The singer, wandering in a garden, meets a sorely troubled man. It proves to be Jesus. The singer kneels and begs forgiveness; Jesus grants it, and the singer goes out to spread the word
Christ in the Garden Partial text(s) *** A *** From Helen Hartness Flanders and Marguerite Olney, Ballads Migrant in New England, pp. 210-211. From Mrs. Edwin C. White, Naugatuck, Connecticut. Collected in 1949. All nature was sinking in silence to rest. The sun in its glory sank low in the west. I walked in the garden and there on the ground Was the loneliest creature that ever was found. (5 additional stanzas plus a half stanza)
This is rather a complicated mix of Biblical themes. Jesus's prayer before his arrest is said to have taken place in a garden in John 18:1, but Gethsemane is not called a garden in the other three gospels.
The mention of "blood, sweat, and tears" is unquestionably a reminiscence of Luke 22:43-44 -- verses which, however, are likely not part of Luke's original Greek; of the earliest seven Greek witnesses, six -- those known as P75 Aleph(1) A B T W -- omit, as do some later witnesses of great weight. The verses are found in the King James Bible, though, so English hymn-writers would certainly know them.
There is no known mention of visitors to Jesus in Gethsemane -- but, of course, the witnesses (Peter, James, John) were dozing off. - RBW