Abou Ben Adhem

by LEIGH HUNT (1784-1859)

Read by Peter Yearsley for Librivox

Abou Ben Adhem (may his tribe increase!)
Awoke one night from a deep dream of peace,
And saw, within the moonlight of 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 who love of God had blessed,
And lo! Ben Adhem’s name led all the rest.

Edward Field

Leigh Hunt, at least in early days, found his greatest pleasure in the composition of verse, and fixed his ambitions upon becoming a fine poet…. from Leigh Hunt, by R. B. Johnson (1896)

Leigh Hunt Contemporaries
John Keats
Samuel Lover
Heinrich Heine

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