a short site about The Divine Comedy

French version

Eric The Gardener

Lyrics: Neil Hannon

Music: Neil Hannon / Joby Talbot

Published by: BMG Music Publishing Ltd. / Chester Music Ltd.

Originally interpreted by: The Divine Comedy


To see the lyrics, click on the name of the version you are interested in (on the left).




This long song hasn't been played very often. It might have been on some setlists in 2002, though. The acoustic version released in 1999 has very probably been recorded with a bunch of other acoustics released as Fin De Siècle and A Secret History B-sides.

The noises at the beginning are made with a metal detector. Indeed the story is based upon an article Neil found in Great British Finds: "When Eric Lawes got out of bed on a chilly November morning in 1992 he could have had no idea of what a momentous day lay ahead of him. Eric, a retired gardener, had decided to do some metal detecting that day on the farm of Peter Watlings, a friend of his. Searching on a part of the farm on which he'd previously had no luck Eric found a roman silver coin about two inches down he had been searching for about three hours so far. Continuing the search, Eric started to uncover hundreds of gold and silver coins followed by small gold bracelets, a long gold chain, silver spoons, and a pendant with semi precious stones embedded. Peering into the hole he had dug he could see a mass of gold and silver items, and realising he had made a major find Eric decided to take a chance and report his find to local Archaeologists, the landowner, and local police. (The reason for saying Eric took a chance is that it is not unknown for archaeologists to try to claim part of the treasure trove in such cases and widespread pilfering by Archaeologists is suspected by many). Careful excavation over the next few days resulted in the discovery of further precious metal objects of great archaeological importance, including precious metal figurines, a silver lioness, the bust of a human, decorated strainers, silver spoons with animal head terminals, gold bracelets, heavy jewelled chains, a gold necklace and, in total, over 14,000 gold and silver coins. For his exemplary behaviour and honesty Eric was awarded £1.75 million, which he shared with the landowner. It is believed the hoard would fetch many times this amount on the open market. The news of this great find broke a couple of days later and it was very gratifying watching sour-faced archaeologists looking gutted as they described the find on television. It had not been their year."

By creating a link between Eric and Julius Caesar, the Roman emperor who conquered England, the song draws a parallel between past and present. The conclusion of this is that Julius Caesar, however important he was, is dead now, just as any human being.