How is the poem "Annabelle Lee" by Poe structured? I need to create my own unique poem using the exact same style Poe uses in this poem.

Expert Answers
poetrymfa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Poet Edgar Allan Poe penned "Annabel Lee" in 1849, referring to the poem (which was most likely inspired by his deceased wife, Virginia Eliza Clemm Poe) as a ballad; despite this claim, the iconic poem is not a ballad, although it contains the same melancholic tone that is characteristic of ballads. 

The poem consists of six stanzas with varying numbers of lines:

The first two stanzas contain six lines each.

The third stanza contains eight lines.

The fourth stanza contains six lines.

The fifth stanza contains seven lines.

The sixth stanza contains eight lines. 

The poem also has a varying rhyme scheme, which I have charted for you below in bold:

It was many and many a year ago, (A)

In a kingdom by the sea, (B)

That a maiden there lived whom you may know (A)

By the name of Annabel Lee; (B)

And this maiden she lived with no other thought (C)

Than to love and be loved by me. (B)


I was a child and she was a child, (D)

In this kingdom by the sea, (B)

But we loved with a love that was more than love— (E)

I and my Annabel Lee— (B)

With a love that the wingèd seraphs of Heaven (F)

Coveted her and me. (B)


And this was the reason that, long ago, (G)

In this kingdom by the sea, (B)

A wind blew out of a cloud, chilling (H)

My beautiful Annabel Lee; (B)

So that her highborn kinsmen came (I)

And bore her away from me, (B)

To shut her up in a sepulchre (J)

In this kingdom by the sea. (B)


The angels, not half so happy in Heaven, (F)

Went envying her and me— (B)

Yes!—that was the reason (as all men know, (G)

In this kingdom by the sea) (B)

That the wind came out of the cloud by night, (J)

Chilling and killing my Annabel Lee. (B)


But our love it was stronger by far than the love (E)

Of those who were older than we— (B)

Of many far wiser than we— (B)

And neither the angels in Heaven above (K)

Nor the demons down under the sea (B)

Can ever dissever my soul from the soul (L)

Of the beautiful Annabel Lee; (B)


For the moon never beams, without bringing me dreams (M)

Of the beautiful Annabel Lee; (B)

And the stars never rise, but I feel the bright eyes (N)

Of the beautiful Annabel Lee; (B)

And so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side (O)

Of my darling—my darling—my life and my bride, (O)

In her sepulchre there by the sea— (B)

In her tomb by the sounding sea. (B)

As you can see, this rhyme scheme is quite irregular, which makes sense since it is one of Poe's own devising. The syllables per line vary wildly and also do not have a particular pattern, so you will definitely have creative freedom in the writing of your own poem there. I would focus on replicating the rhyme with a focus on the repetition of the "B" lines, as they are the most prominent component of the poem. You may want to also echo the shifting refrain that Poe has included; in other words, the repetition of "beautiful Annabel Lee" in various permutations. Do this while making the poem sound elegiac and like a tribute to a love one, and you should find this assignment fairly simple!

wards31 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

It is made up of six stanzas, three with six lines, one with seven, and two with eight, with the rhyme pattern differing slightly in each one.  Poe considered it a ballad, but it is not technically considered one.



katieannoakley | Student

"Annabel Lee" consists of six stanzas that range from six to eight lines each. The poem uses repetition and rhyme to create the qualities of unity and euphony, or a pleasing musicality. The repeated use of the end rhymes "sea," "Lee," "we," and "me" offer a link from stanza to stanza throughout the poem. The name "Annabel Lee" appears at least once in every stanza, and the phrase "kingdom by the sea" also appears frequently, adding to the unified structure. Repetition of key words within lines gives the poem its pleasing sound while at the same time emphasizing main ideas.

Read the study guide:
Annabel Lee

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question