What are the Poetic Devices / Figures of Speech used in the poem “Abou Ben Adhem” by Leigh Hunt?
Leigh Hunt has used several figures of speech and other poetic devices in his famous poem “Abou Ben Adhem”. Here’s a list of those I have found out so far.
Assonance and Consonance:
Assonance is the repetition of vowel sounds in nearby words and consonance is its consonant counterpart.
Abou Ben Adhem (may his tribe increase!) — Assonance
…deep dream of peace, — Assonance
It came again with great wakening light, — Assonance
Abou spoke more low — Assonance
…deep dream of peace, — Consonance /Alliteration
…who love the lord. –Consonance / Alliteration
Simile is a direct comparison between two different things using ‘as’ or ‘like’.
Making it rich, and like a lily in bloom,
The moonlit room is compared to a lily in bloom.
The poet has used symbols to suggest something more than the literal meaning of the words.
It came again with a great wakening light,
Here, “wakening light” not only suggests wakening from sleep but also the wakening of mind with the wisdom that the angel carried — Loving one’s fellow men is more virtuous than loving the Almighty Himself. That is why Abou’s name topped the angel’s list.
The phrase “making it rich” in line 4 has a similar symbolic meaning.
The poet has used archaic words in “What writest thou?”, “Nay, not so” “I pray thee, then” etc. to bring an old-world feel to the poem.