Abou Ben Adhem

Original Text: 
Samuel Carter Hall, ed., The Book of Gems. The poets and artists of Great Britain (London: Saunders and Otley, 1838). LE.C H179b Robarts Library
2Awoke one night from a deep dream of peace,
3And saw, within the moonlight in his room,
4Making it rich, and like a lily in bloom,
5An angel writing in a book of gold:--
6Exceeding peace had made Ben Adhem bold,
7And to the presence in the room he said,
8"What writest thou?"--The vision raised its head,
9And with a look made of all sweet accord,
10Answered, "The names of those who love the Lord."
11"And is mine one?" said Abou. "Nay, not so,"
12Replied the angel. Abou spoke more low,
13But cheerly still; and said, "I pray thee, then,
14Write me as one that loves his fellow men."
15      The angel wrote, and vanished. The next night
16It came again with a great wakening light,
17And showed the names whom love of God had blest,
18And lo! Ben Adhem's name led all the rest.


1] Based on a story in D'Herbelot's Bibliothèque Orientale (1781). Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
RPO poem Editors: 
J. D. Robins
RPO Edition: 
2RP.2.156; RPO 1996-2000.