Today I am featuring the last of the "H's" in my Victorian Poets - James Henry Leigh Hunt.

More about him tomorrow, but first perhaps what is his most famous poem:

ABOU BEN ADHEM

Abou Ben Adhem (may his tribe increase!)
Awoke one night from a deep dream of peace,
And saw, within the moonlight of 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 who love of God had blessed,
And lo! Ben Adhem's name led all the rest.

James Henry Leigh Hunt


Ibrahim Bin Adham (ابراہیم بن ادھم) (death 777) (also known as Abu Ben Adhem or Abou Ben Adhem) was an Arab Muslim saint and Sufi mystic.

His full name was Sultan Ibrahim bin Adham, Bin Mansur al-Balkhi al- Ijli, Abu Ishaq.

My American readers will already know of the Abou Ben Adhem Shrine in Springfield, Missouri - but for others here are some details.

a_abou_ben_adhem_1

When the Abou Ben Adhem Shrine Mosque was built in 1923 it was hailed as the largest auditorium west of the Mississippi. It is one of Springfield’s most recognizable buildings with its red brick walls and terracotta polychrome turrets. The Saracenic, or Moorish, style of architecture was the design of Springfield architects Heckenlively and Mark.

The cost to build the Temple was $600,000. 4750 people can be seated in its main auditorium. At the time it was built the stage was second only to the Metropolitan Opera stage in New York City in size.

For a period in 1973-1975 there was talk that the Mosque might be torn down because it had deteriorated over the years, but in 1975 the Shriners announced that it would be renovated. In 1982 it was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. The renovation began in 1987.