Abou Ben Adhem

Abou Ben Adhem (may his tribe increase!)
Awoke one night from a deep dream of peace,
And saw, within the moonlight in his room,
Making it rich, and like a lily in bloom,
An angel writing in a book of gold:—
Exceeding peace had made Ben Adhem bold,
And to the Presence in the room he said
"What writest thou?"—The vision raised its head,
And with a look made of all sweet accord,
Answered "The names of those who love the Lord."
"And is mine one?" said Abou. "Nay, not so,"
Replied the angel. Abou spoke more low,
But cheerly still, and said "I pray thee, then,
Write me as one that loves his fellow men."

The angel wrote, and vanished. The next night
It came again with a great wakening light,
And showed the names whom love of God had blessed,
And lo! Ben Adhem's name led all the rest.


Anonymous Submission

by James Henry Leigh Hunt

Comments (77)

Jesus, God incarnate, said the most important law was to love God, second was to love other people. Love of God is demonstrated by loving others. Abou did indeed love God, as his declarations and rewards, peaceful sleep and increasing tribe testify.
This is truly inspirational
My grandmother remembered learning and reciting this poem in the 4th grade in Brooklyn. She would have been 93 this year. I am not sure the original meaning behind it, I just like it because I know she remembered it for her whole life.
A poem that touched my heart when my mother first recited it to me. It is a poem that makes us aware that just because you may have a different religion and call God a different name loving your neighbour with tolerance and understanding is a prerequisite to saying you love God.
I am 77 years old. When I was in the 7th grade (1953) , one of my two teachers, Mrs. Herndon, in Bennettsville, SC. required us to memorize Abou Ben Adhem, and we had to recite it with much feeling. I never forgot the poem and I can still recite it by memory. One of my favorite poems. I can't remember what I did a week ago, but I don't think I will ever forget this poem.
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