Leigh Hunt was an English essayist, political radical, poet, and journalist. He is remembered for his association with the English romantic poets, like Shelley, Keats, and Byron. Of his many poems, “Abou Ben Adhem” is his best known work.
Let’s read to find out what significant rule of meaningful conduct can be derived from the poem:
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 blest,
And lo! Ben Adhem’s name led all the rest.
“Abou Ben Adhem” is a short fable-like poem that suggests that the best way to express our love for God is simply by loving our fellow man. The poem also highlights the importance of compassion and empathy as the true principles of religion, which overrides the need to speak lip-service to a jealous or attention-hungry God. The author was able to capture the beauty that represents the faith that one has in God. And as a result of that love we have for God, we can make the world a better place to live.