Online Poems

Edgar Allan Poe

Selected Poetry
(Poe Style Sheet)

(Poe, Dickinson, Whitman compared)

Annabel Lee


1. Poe is the most Romantic of all American authors. He affected a Romantic, Byronic persona as an author, and his poetry and prose incorporate nearly every possible element of Romanticism. What are some Romantic features or themes in the poem below? Consider Romantic rhetoric, the gothic, and more.

2. What characteristics of Poe's personal style appear? How can you tell this is a poem by Edgar Allan Poe?

3. Compare this poem's form as "free verse" or "formal verse" with poems by Dickinson and Whitman (and other poems by Poe).  Poe, Dickinson, Whitman compared.

3a. What technical or sensory qualities of this poem contribute to its success as a love poem? (Marianne Faithfull reading.)

4. Many people admire "Annabel Lee" as a love poem but ignore the implications of the concluding lines. How may different readers manage the last lines to say or avoid unpleasant possibilities?



by Edgar Allan Poe (1809-49)

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

[2.1]   She was a child and I was a child,
[2.2]       In this kingdom by the sea,
[2.3]    But we loved with a love that was more than love —
[2.4]       I and my Annabel Lee —
[2.5]    With a love that the wingιd seraphs of Heaven   [seraphs = celestial beings, angels]
[2.6]       Coveted her and me.                  [coveted = desired to possess]

[3.1]   And this was the reason that, long ago,
[3.2]       In this kingdom by the sea,
[3.3]   A wind blew out of a cloud by night
[3.4]       Chilling my Annabel Lee;
[3.5]   So that her high-born kinsmen came
[3.6]       And bore her away from me,
[3.7]   To shut her up, in a sepulchre        [sepulchre = tomb]
[3.8]       n this kingdom by the sea.

[4.1]   The angels, not half so happy in Heaven,
[4.2]      Went envying her and me;
[4.3]   Yes! that was the reason (as all men know,
[4.4]      In this kingdom by the sea)
[4.5]   That the wind came out of the cloud, chilling
[4.6]      And killing my Annabel Lee.

[5.1]   But our love it was stronger by far than the love
[5.2]      Of those who were older than we —
[5.3]      Of many far wiser than we —
[5.4]   And neither the angels in Heaven above
[5.5]      Nor the demons down under the sea
[5.6]   Can ever dissever my soul from the soul    [dissever = separate, disunite]
[5.7]      Of the beautiful Annabel Lee: —

[6.1]   For the moon never beams without bringing me dreams
[6.2]      Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
[6.3]   And the stars never rise but I see the bright eyes
[6.4]      Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
[6.6]   And so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side
[6.7]   Of my darling, my darling, my life and my bride
[6.8]      In her sepulchre there by the sea —
[6.9]      In her tomb by the side of the sea.