At a Glance

"Annabel Lee" tells the story of a pretty young maiden called Annabel Lee, whom the speaker loved. In the chilling final stanza, the speaker says that he lies by Annabel Lee's side all night long—beside her in her tomb in the kingdom by the sea.

"Annabel Lee" summary key points:

  1. The angels in Heaven were jealous of the relationship between Annabel Lee and the speaker. The third and fourth stanzas tell that this envy "was the reason" a chilling wind at night killed Annabel Lee, who was buried by her relatives in a tomb by the sea.

  2. The fifth stanza states that their childhood love is stronger than the love of those older and wiser and that neither angels nor demons can "dissever" soul from soul.


"Annabel Lee" was the last poem that Poe composed, and it was first published in November, 1849, in The Southern Literary Messenger, a month or so after his death. It is comprised of six stanzas, three of which have six lines and three of which have eight lines, with the rhyme pattern differing slightly in each one.

The poem is related by a first-person voice who was actively involved in the events which he now recounts. Akin to a fairy story, the narrator transports us to a kingdom by the sea that existed in the remote past, when both he and his beloved Annabel Lee were just children. Despite their youth, their love for each other was unsurpassed, so strong that even angels in heaven "coveted" it.

Because of their jealousy, a cold wind chills Annabel Lee in the third stanza. She dies and her body is carried away to the grave by "high-born kinsmen." Even though they have been separated by death, the angels continue to envy the love that remains between the narrator and his child bride.

Indeed, as the narrator proclaims in the penultimate fifth stanza, nothing can ever sever the bonds that join him to his love. He is always reminded of her beauty by the sight of the moon and the stars, dreaming of her every night as she lays "in her tomb by the side of the sea."