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What is the proper text of the last two lines of Edgar allan Poe's Annabel Lee?   In...

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berdina | eNotes Newbie

Posted May 16, 2009 at 8:28 PM via web

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What is the proper text of the last two lines of Edgar allan Poe's Annabel Lee?

 

In the sepulchre there by the sea-
In her tomb by the sounding sea

My husband got a book for his birthday and he knew this poem by heart and it is sounding sea, not side by the sea

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epollock | Valedictorian

Posted May 16, 2009 at 9:48 PM (Answer #1)

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Berdina,

A few inconsistencies arise from Poe's "Annabel Lee" because of various illegible copies from different manuscripts of the poem.  If you consult the Edgar Allen Poe Society of Baltimore web site, their organization is considered one of the leading scholarly societies concerning his works. They have identified close to a dozen different versions of the poem and on their website, you will see several versions. 

From the most authoritative work, from the text of "Annabel Lee" (A version) in the "Griswold" manuscript around May 1849, there was no precise dating for this version,  the last two lines are:

In her sepulchre there by the sea —
    In her tomb by the sounding sea.

The Griswold manuscript was considered the most authoritative reference source.

Although eNotes has the version's last two lines which reads:

In her sepulchre there by the sea,
In her tomb by the side of the sea.

This version appeared in the two newspapers, the Richmond Examiner and the New York Tribune, (1849-1850.)

I hope this clears up the issues.  You can also find the same inconsistencies in reading Shakespeare due to the different folios and editing requirements of various publishers.  This still never diminishes the greatness of literature; it adds to the richness of the author's meticulous nature in always looking for the perfect word for the perfect poem.

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