Friday, January 10, 2020

Abou ben Adhem

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.
(Leigh Hunt)

This used to be a big deal, taught to schoolchildren and declaimed at competitions.  For the latter, one was supposed to give a long, meaningful pause after "lo!"

A silly poem, one of the worst I have encountered. Another wonderful example of how much better education was in our grandparents' day.

1 comment:

james said...

When his teacher asked the class why, Isaac Asimov answered "Alphabetical order."

(Yes, I agree that the episode probably is more "Wish I had" than rock solid fact.)