Hail, Poetry

Hail, Poetry

Abou Ben Adhem


Abou Ben Adhem (May his tribe increase!)

Awoke one night from a deep dream of peace

And saw, in his room, and 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 cheerily 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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