Annabel Lee by Edgar Allan Poe
“Annabel Lee” is the very last piece of poetry by the great Edgar Allen Poe. Here Poe gives his own voice to a lamenting narrator who dictates a heart-wrenching story of how the cruel nature had conspired to rob him of his love – Annabel Lee, but has failed as his love for her extends beyond her grave.
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 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 by 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.
Analysis of Poe’s “Annabel Lee”
“Annabel Lee” was the final poem of American writer-poet Edgar Allen Poe. Written in 1949, shortly before his death, this poem in ways epitomizes the haunting melancholy of a bereaved lover whose picture Poe elegantly paints in many of his works.
In the poem, the narrator opens up about his love for Annabel Lee, who lived “in a kingdom by the sea”. They both fell for each other as children and loved one another with a “love” so intense, so fiery that even the angels envied them. Apparently, this covetousness took the shape of a wind that “blew out of a cloud” and killed Annabel Lee. Be that as it may, their love is so strong that neither “angels in heaven” nor “demons down under the sea” can tear their interwoven souls apart. In his dreams, the narrator now sees his lost love’s eyes in the stars. Every night, “by the sounding sea” he lays down “In her tomb by the sounding sea”. We get a strong suggestion of possible necrophilia and insanity from the poem as the speaker does not lie by the tomb, but “in” the tomb.
Here, Poe turns back to one of his persistently dear themes – the untimely demise of a beautiful woman. Although he never directly accuses God, it feels as if that the sea, the wind, the angels and the demons are all ganging up against him. It suggests that the speaker has failed to mature or come to terms with her death. “Annabel Lee” starts off all adorable and musical. The tone becomes sinister and eerie when he continually reasserts the flaming love between the two. It feels as if the narrator is stuck in time unable to come to terms with the passing of his lover, the tone suggesting borderline insanity. Poe’s signature gothic overtones are strong in the poem in its own subtle ways.
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