James Henry Leigh Hunt

(19 October 1784 – 28 August 1859 / Southgate, London)

Abou Ben Adhem - Poem by James Henry Leigh Hunt

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.


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Comments about Abou Ben Adhem by James Henry Leigh Hunt

  • (11/23/2018 7:10:00 PM)


    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. (Report) Reply

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  • (10/25/2018 4:55:00 PM)


    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. (Report) Reply

  • (10/21/2018 6:08:00 PM)


    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. (Report) Reply

    (10/23/2018 10:40:00 AM)

    I went to elementary school in Columbia, SC in the 70s and we had to memorize this poem when I was in 5th grade. I don't know why this has always stuck with me, but it has!

  • (10/15/2018 4:54:00 PM)


    Like some of the other comments I learnt this poem in Junior School in the late 40's and got a gold star for reciting it correctly.. The meaning of it, however, was never questioned or explained to us.but it certainly evokes happy memories of the innocence of childhood in a happy school environment at that post war time. (Report) Reply

  • (10/4/2018 12:06:00 AM)


    Very nice 😊 (Report) Reply

  • (9/25/2018 7:22:00 AM)


    Nice Nice Beautiful (Report) Reply

  • (9/11/2018 4:03:00 PM)


    Tolerance of all religions loving fellow human beings is more important (Report) Reply

  • (9/7/2018 9:49:00 AM)


    Add a comment. Everyone should love and respect their own neighbours (Report) Reply

  • Rajnish Manga (9/5/2018 2:10:00 PM)


    One of the best poems in English literature which have intense emotional appeal.
    This is my favorite since my school days.
    (Report) Reply

  • (7/24/2018 5:44:00 PM)


    My Mother used to receite this when I was very young, and I have never forgotten it even that was in the 1930’s (Report) Reply

  • (7/2/2018 8:30:00 PM)


    I remember the poem studied in the seventh standard and found after 50 years 😊 (Report) Reply

  • (6/8/2018 10:07:00 PM)


    My mom read this poem to me as a child Have loved it since (Report) Reply

  • (6/2/2018 1:15:00 PM)


    Strangely this poem was running through my head this morning, I leaned it in school way back in 50's. As I'm reading the comments it seems like many have had the same experience. I never analysed it, The only sense I can make of it, is Jesus told us to love our neighbor, he said how can you love God if you don't love your fellow men. So it kinda makes sense Abou, should love his fellow men. I personally find it's much easier to love God than my fellow men. (Report) Reply

  • (6/1/2018 7:47:00 AM)


    Some of the comments/reactions to this poem are unkind. What do you suppose Jesus meant when he said I have sheep in other pastures, or when he held up the good Samaritan (heretics that did not have the right faith) , as an example of faithful love? (Report) Reply

  • (5/19/2018 12:57:00 PM)


    This is a sacrilegious poem. Abu does not love the lord and he says he just loves my fellow man and then he is
    placed first in the book of gold that you are suppose to love god to get into. This is a teaching from an atheist that threw out the greatest commandment. In my poem Abu is going straight to if he does not change his
    ways It is so easy to be blinded by something that seems to end so well but it is a Lie straight from.
    (Report) Reply

    (5/29/2018 11:17:00 AM)

    The very POINT of the Poem is that many people who wish to do the work of, and follow, the Good Lord have missed the message He left us with, and have let their own human way of thinking get in the way of the Message that Christ sent. He IS the Way itself. and that Way is Loving one another and our neighbors. This poem is the opposite of sacreilegious.

  • (5/14/2018 11:32:00 PM)


    I was asked to learn this poem at 6 grade and I now think it was written by an atheist or someone that does not know the bible. Think about what it is saying. Basically Abu did not have to love God as the greatest commandment or even be a good person all he had to do was love his fellow man and He was above all others.
    This is a terrible poem to teach kids, think about it!
    (Report) Reply

    (7/27/2018 8:50:00 AM)

    The Old Testament had so many laws that it was difficult.to keep count of them let alone follow them all. When Jesus came he told us the greatest commandment was “love the Lord God with all your heart, with all your mind, with all your soul and all your strength AND love your neighbour as yourself.” Nothing sacrilegious about this.

  • (5/5/2018 7:47:00 AM)


    My Mom, who is now 100 years old, used to teach me all of the classic poems while I helped her with the dishes. I still remember them all now and so does she! (Report) Reply

  • (5/3/2018 2:53:00 AM)


    I learned this poem at Walton H S in the Bronx, NYC in the 1940s, over 70 years ago. I still quote it.

    Who says teenagers don't enjoy classic poetry?
    (Report) Reply

  • (3/26/2018 1:37:00 AM)


    I had to memorize this poem in elementary school (1950's) and for some reason the first few lines popped into my head last night and I had to check out this site to read the whole poem. (Report) Reply

    (4/23/2018 7:26:00 PM)

    In the 1950’s this was part of our English studies. Our Teacher Muriel Gould.I got up wth this AM. thought and remembered the first two lines and i Thank you Google and Gould

  • (3/22/2018 6:52:00 AM)


    Love it so much, learnt it from primary school (Report) Reply

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Read poems about / on: angel, peace, dream, night, light, god, love



Poem Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003



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