Annabel Lee

It’s the second day of my ‘post each day on Bookstains for a week’ challenge.  I came across this poem by Edgar Allan Poe, (1809 – 1849) the American mystery and horror writer.  The poem is about Poe first love Annabel Lee and is the last completed poem Poe wrote.  The subject, as well as being about lost love is also about death.  The poem was written in 1849 and published that same year – which coincidently was also the year the writer died.  The poem speaks of a love that can transcend death.  No one really knows who the woman  was, though some think that lady may have been  his wife Virginia Eliza Clemm Poe.

If the poem seems a little familiar to you, that may be because it featured in the 1971 film Play misty for me which starred Clint Eastwood as the unwitting Radio DJ who got himself embroiled with one of his listeners who turned out to be a demented mad woman.  Annabel Lee was the woman’s favorite poem and it is quoted in the film.  Dangerous love.

One of Poe’s favorite themes was the death of a beautiful woman and this one fulfills the criteria.  the poem is about an ideal love – a love that not even death can break.  Here’s the poem in its entirety-

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 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.
 Poem from Poemhunter with thanks

More about this poem  and its possible source here

Play Misty image here

Poe poster from here

11 thoughts on “Annabel Lee

  1. Good post! I like Poe’s work.
    Marianne Faithful is an interesting choice for a reader, yet her husky tone works very well with this poem.
    I love his last verse here where he gets the two rhymes in each line. It gives it quite a lilting sensation, quite dreamy.

    1. Her singing though is an aquired taste 🙂 Poe had a very dark romantic streak and seemed obsessed with women dieing (or leaving) This poem got even creepier in Play Misty for me 😀

  2. it’s so fun to hear the words of writing that was meant to be spoken. …even if chilling there is a beauty to the sound in this – rolling and rolling and rolling on like waves coming in with the tide. cool.

    1. You put it so poetically Rick 🙂 I always get a huge kick out of hearing poems read – especially by the author themselves (William Butler Yeats readings are such an absolute delight to listen to and fortunately there’s quite a few of these on youtube. ) Glad you enjoyed this Rick 🙂 Here’s a post I wrote about this poet
      Here’s some I featured on my art blog echostains (before I created Bookstains) read by the poet himself

      1. oh. mahalo (thanks) for the links echostains. i am way behind scrambling to leave in the morning for a few days off island. i will go look. …and listen, soon (altho may be not tonight). i miss the sound of voices speaking in poetic patterns. cool. aloha.

  3. hi my name is elexis and i really enjoyed this poem i think that love shouldnt be fake i think that love is really special and i also think that you should never play with love…….

    1. I agree, look what happened to Clint Eastwood in ‘Play Misty for me’ though I think there might have been a few crossed (and loose) wires there. he thought the relationship casual, while she took it all to a completely different level – with disasterous results:-o

  4. Hi who ever is reading this i jut want you to know that you should never play with love because i was one of those people who always played with love and i was really depressed for a while….thanks for taking your time to read my mini essay…..

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