Abou Ben Adhem "One That Loves His Fellow Men"
by Leigh Hunt

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"One That Loves His Fellow Men"

(Magill's Quotations in Context)

Context: James Henry Leigh Hunt–journalist, poet, critic, essayist, and friend of Lamb, Moore, and Byron–is remembered as a writer principally for his Autobiography (1850) and for two brief lyrics, "Abou Ben Adhem" and "Rondeau" ("Jenny Kissed Me"). "Abou Ben Adhem" is based on a passage in Bibliothèque Orientale, by Barthélemy d'Herbelot. In Hunt's poem Abou wakes from a deep and peaceful dream to see an angel in his room writing in a golden book. "What writest thou?" he asks, and the angel answers,

"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.