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.


Anonymous Submission


Comments about Abou Ben Adhem by James Henry Leigh Hunt

  • Lovely Poem (5/31/2020 3:16:00 AM)

    Lovely Poem thank you(Report)Reply

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  • Rosalind Tricker (2/7/2020 4:48:00 AM)

    I remember this poem from when I was a very small child, unable to sleep, a lifelong problem, and my father used to try to amuse me. This poem was amongst others he taught me along with the alphabet and multiplication tables. Still love it and it's relevance to life now.(Report)Reply

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  • Bjpafa MeragenteBjpafa Meragente (1/20/2020 9:12:00 PM)

    A little redundant, and, still, like a child's tale, important.(Report)Reply

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  • edward (12/23/2019 8:04:00 PM)

    I wish to print this poem, Abou Ben Adam, in an anthology of peacemaking stories for a not for profit organization (unitastcinc.org) . Where do I get the permission to do so?(Report)Reply

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  • Elizabeth Benedict Ogedegbe. (12/11/2019 2:49:00 PM)

    I learnt this poem when I was in secondary school and I presented it at our schools prize giving day with our parents invited! Our Irish teacher taught us many poems and a lot of Irish old songs too. I still sing them....!
    I am going to teach my grand children too!(Report)Reply

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  • Brigid Axtell (10/14/2019 2:46:00 AM)

    Very relevant in today’s world. Do not pass by or look the other way. Respect and care for your fellow humans, regardless of race, colour or creed. Do not judge. It is such a beautiful poem and teaches us a lot in its simplicity.(Report)Reply

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  • Brigid (10/14/2019 2:33:00 AM)

    This is so relevant to the age we live in. Love and respect your fellow man regardless of race, colour or creed. Do not pass by or turn away. Smile. Random acts of kindness work wonders. There is more good than bad in the world, and it is still a beautiful place.(Report)Reply

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  • Patricia (10/7/2019 9:17:00 AM)

    I learn this at school but couldn't recall it all till I looked it up. I still love it(Report)Reply

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  • Alma Villani (8/29/2019 8:58:00 AM)

    In reading all the comments there was a on going theme....Mothers either read or said this poem. I also remember my Mom reciting it too.(Report)Reply

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  • Spock The VeganSpock The Vegan (7/31/2019 10:52:00 PM)

    Touching poem. It has a moral. That's very rare in Poemhunter.(Report)Reply

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  • Betsy Gingerich (6/3/2019 5:16:00 PM)

    I had to memorize this poem, as well as Hiawatha, School Days, The Day is Done, and Paul Revere's Ride and probably a couple more that I no longer remember, when I was in fifth grade English.(Report)Reply

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  • Valerie (5/11/2019 9:04:00 PM)

    This was a memorization assignment in Grade 4. I have never forgotten it. I'm 73 now.(Report)Reply

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  • Gay bourne (5/9/2019 1:41:00 PM)

    My sister use to tell me this poem when I was about 7yrs old that was in the 1940s, and I still love it,(Report)Reply

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  • Elizabeth Brinson Edwards (3/22/2019 12:09:00 PM)

    I am 78 and remember my mother reciting this and many other poems and singing many songs to us when we were children in the 40s. There was no TV, phones nor other media we have today and mothers connected with the children much more. She taught school for 34 years and has been passed away for 20 years now and greatly missed. I'm so glad I found this poem. She recited it with much feeling!(Report)Reply

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  • NKULANTHAIVELU (2/13/2019 5:34:00 PM)

    Atouching one Blessing The humblest soul God Is with the Humble and lowly(Report)Reply

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  • Duane (12/23/2018 9:14:00 AM)

    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.(Report)Reply

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  • Linda (12/15/2018 8:16:00 AM)

    This is truly inspirational(Report)Reply

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  • Karen (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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  • Valerie (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

    4 person liked.
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  • Jo Linda Prevatte Creech, Cheraw, SC (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

    Tara Teague(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!

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



Poem Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003