Friday, January 30, 2009

Poe Fridays: Annabel Lee

This week's Poe Friday is another poem, "Annabel Lee". And because it is one of my favorite Poe works, here it is in its entirety.

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 high-born kinsmen came
And bore her away from me,
To shut her up in a sepulchre
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 one night,
Chilling and killing my Annabel Lee.

But our love it 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 sepulchre there by the sea,
In her tomb by the sounding sea.

The first thing that drew me to this poem was of course the mellifluous name Annabel Lee. The repetition of the name reinforces the poet's obsession with this single person. This is a tale of pure love, begun in childhood and continued past death. It is a complete lifetime told in a few stanzas.

This poem also addresses something that I mentioned last week, which is Poe's strongly held belief that there was an outside source to all of his problems. In this case, the lovers are torn apart by heaven and earth. But though this poem is essentially a tragic one, it has some of the most beautiful verse:
"But we loved with a love that was more than love ..."
"For the moon never beams, without bringing me dreams ..."

Next week, will be the first tale of Poe Fridays, The Tell-Tale Heart. While most people generally know the plot, I doubt many have read the actual story.

Loving the obsession with love,


  1. I love Annabel Lee! My Poe Friday post is here.

  2. Ireally enjoyed this poem. Many thanks ;0)

  3. Sorry I'm a little late on this one!! This is one of my favorites, so I thought better late than never!! Here's my post: