What is the end rhyme of the poem "Annabel Lee" and what does it tell us about the poem?

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M.P. Ossa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The last stanza of the poem by Edgar Allan Poe titled "Annabel Lee" reads,

For the moon never beams without bringing me dreams
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And the stars never rise but I see the bright eyes
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;

This is very much a sample of the Romantic and Gothic aspects of the poem. First, the exaltation of nature is typical of Realism, and takes center stage in most realistic, romantic and Gothic literature. The moon and the stars are not just satellites of earth; they are witnesses of the pain and suffering that both the narrator and Annabel Lee herself have had to experience through their respective existences.

Annabel Lee, who is tragically dead too young, had all the factors that would have made her a happy woman: beauty, youth, ample time. It is death that had to strike like a thief in the night the same way that it had done with all of the women Poe loved the most in his life.

These verses are stating that life will never be the same. The moon will never beam, at least not for the narrator. The stars will not rise, either. All will remain in total darkness. Why would there be any more brilliance than those of the eyes of the young dead woman, who will never open them again?  It is all allegorical also to the depression and grief that the narrator expresses throughout.

And so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side
Of my darling—my darling—my life and my bride

Changing the rhyming meter and form in contrast to the rest of the poem, here Poe, once again, makes mention of an element of nature, the night-tide, which he uses as a base for support; a place where he can lie on and express his sorrows. He wants to be near his love, so he goes lies next to her. He wants to emphasize that this is not an ordinary childhood crush. She was everything to him, and he wants to make a point of it.  

In her sepulchre there by the sea,

       In her tomb by the side of the sea

Here Poe offers a repetition within the anapest that is allusive to the ocean, once again, bringing a tone of nostalgia, coldness, an inevitability to the whole situation. The imagery elicited by the mention of the sea entails that, under water, mysterious things lurk. Her sepulcher "there by the sea" shows that not only is she buried, but she is also in the middle of the elements, which are so unpredictable.

Yet, the reassurance that she is "by the sea" can also signify that Poe knows exactly where to go and where to find her. He has pinpointed that spot "by the side of the sea" and has made it their spot. This is indicative of his desire to preserve her memory forever.