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E.A.Poe: Annabel Lee

“Annabel Lee” is a beautiful and mystical poem. Poe’s own life was also enigmatic. He secretly married his 13-year old cousin, Virginia, who died of tuberculosis shortly after. The poem is most likely dedicated to his young bride. Note how the rhythm of the poem comes alive when you read it out loud.

Annabel Lee

By Edgar Allan Poe

It was many and many a year ago,
In a kingdom by the sea,
That a maiden there lived whom you may know
By the name of Annabel Lee;
And this maiden she lived with no other thought
Than to love and be loved by me.

I was a child and she was a child,
In this kingdom by the sea;
But we loved with a love that was more than love -
I and my Annabel Lee;
With a love that the winged seraphs of heaven
Coveted her and me.
And this was the reason that, long ago,
In this kingdom by the sea,
A wind blew out of a cloud; chilling My beautiful Annabel Lee;
So that her highborn kinsman came
And bore her away from me,
To shut her up in a sepulcher
In this kingdom by the sea.
The angels, not half so happy in heaven,
Went envying her and me
Yes! that was the reason
(as all men know, In this kingdom by the sea)
That the wind came out of the cloud by night,
Chilling and killing my Annabel Lee.

But our love was stronger by far than the love
Of those who were older than we
Of many far wiser than we
And neither the angels in heaven above,
Nor the demons down under the sea,
Can ever dissever my soul from the soul
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee.
For the moon never beams without bringing me dreams
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And the stars never rise but I feel the bright eyes
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side
Of my darling, my darling, my life and my bride,
In the sepulcher there by the sea,
In her tomb by the sounding sea.

A Closer Look at the Poem

  • Why, according to the poet, did Annabel Lee die?
  • What makes the poem sound like the narrative of a fairy tale?
  • Repetition is a poetic method to emphasize certain elements in a poem; do you see any examples here?
  • Point out some lines that you think are particularly melodic.
  • How can we say that this poem reflects Poe's own life and writing? See the introduction and follow the link below and read more about Edgar Allan Poe.

Edgar Allan Poe - An Introduction

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Literature from 1780 to 1840

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