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

  • (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

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  • (3/22/2018 6:52:00 AM)


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

  • (3/16/2018 7:04:00 AM)


    I had to learn this poem whilst at school 60 years ago and had forgotten some of the words. Brings back happy memories. (Report) Reply

  • (2/13/2018 5:23:00 PM)


    I too learned this poem from my father in 6th grade. 1958 (Report) Reply

  • (2/4/2018 2:53:00 AM)


    This is very ossam story (Report) Reply

  • (2/1/2018 9:48:00 AM)


    have loved this poem and thought for years. (Report) Reply

  • (1/28/2018 9:21:00 PM)


    See also, Coleridge:
    He prayeth best who loveth best
    All things both great and small.
    For that dear God who loveth us
    He made and loveth all.
    (Report) Reply

  • (1/25/2018 11:31:00 AM)


    I am 84 and I learned this poem as a child, from my father in York, UK. I guess he learned it at school in about 1912.
    He recited it at every opportunity, very regularly and word perfect. He must have done a good teaching job - I am still word perfect too! !
    (Report) Reply

  • (1/19/2018 9:43:00 AM)


    This is very oossumm story (Report) Reply

  • (1/18/2018 5:32:00 AM)


    My Father taught me this poem when I was a child. He passed away when I was 11 years old, but I still remember it well, although not word for word. I shall be 70 in a couple of months, so i guess my memory isn't too bad right now.
    Moving thought provoking words!
    (Report) Reply

  • (1/7/2018 7:11:00 AM)


    I learned this poem in the 8th grade at Sampson elementary, Detroit,1964. (Report) Reply

  • (12/27/2017 2:04:00 AM)


    I cannot recall when I first heard this poem in the 60's - high school or college. Put the the first two lines run through my head to this day at 71. While not always religious - always felt spiritual.In a few weeks it will be my turn to read my favorite devotional in a church group. Instead I shall read this. We live in terrifying times. Feeling the inner soul of a man from a culture we sometimes fear seems appropriate. Thank you. (Report) Reply

    (1/1/2018 7:31:00 PM)

    I feel the same way at 83.

  • (12/15/2017 10:12:00 PM)


    I know this from primary school....still remember it till 2day...im 54 nw (Report) Reply

  • (10/21/2017 7:45:00 PM)


    This is a poem that was taught to me in elementary school and it has stayed with me as one of my favorite poems for some reason. That was over fifty years ago. Gee, that is a long time. It's meaning is more clear to me now. I am a Christian and am saddened that Abou was not among the first list. But he was in the second. That was redeeming to me at that young age and that is probably why I loved it. (Report) Reply

  • Tom Allport (1/8/2017 2:06:00 PM)

    tom allport
    it's only deeds that count? nice poem though. (Report) Reply

  • Shareq Rahman (12/5/2016 8:34:00 AM)

    Arabian flavor.
    This poem has got some Arabian flavor. The first line is totally Arabian, the name and the blessings to the tribe. Angels writing in book is also from Arab folklore. The poet may have been inspired by the book of Arabian Nights. With all the wars and killings going on in the Arab domains, it seems, they don't follow what is indicated in the poem. (Report) Reply

    (11/9/2017 3:36:00 PM)

    You're right. Not like here where Americans don't doom children in the US and abroad by spending more money on their pets in a month than a family could exist on for a year in the third world.
    The opposite of love is not hate. It is indifference. Get rid of your laptop and tv and 'feed the world' before you judge who is not doing what they should be doing. Hmm, I bet you're a Christian right?

    (8/3/2017 12:00:00 PM)

    The name Abou Ben Adhem could not, in fact, exist in Arabic, because it would mean father of son of Adhem - in other words, Adhem! Not that makes it any less magnificent a poem.

  • Richard Mccaine (10/29/2016 2:15:00 AM)


    This has been a favorite poem of mine since I was eight years old; I'm now sixty-six. I loved the mental imagery at the time, and later, as I got a little older and understood better, the message. (Report) Reply

  • (7/9/2016 8:39:00 AM)


    My sixth grade teacher, Miss Stockwell, at the West End School in Port Jervis, NY, taught us this poem. We memorized and recited it every day along with the Pledge of Allegiance. That was in 1951. (Report) Reply

  • (7/4/2016 10:09:00 AM)


    This poem was beautifully recited at a ceremony in Seychelles in memory of Regina MundiConvent and Seychelles College; Was a moving moment... We sure had great teachers! (Report) Reply

  • Uzefa Rashida M.a (2/26/2016 8:10:00 AM)


    My favourite poem which i read at school. This poem teaches how loving mankind can bring us peace snd make us being loved by God. (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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