Last Updated on May 7, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 215
Context: There has been a persistent tradition that this poem was written in memory of Poe's wife, Virginia, who died in 1847. Though several other ladies have been suggested as the inspiration of the poem, Virginia, because of her extreme youth (she was only fourteen when she married Poe and twenty-one when she died) seems the most likely candidate. In a highly romanticized fashion, typical of the author, the themes of the poem center around the picture of an ideal love destroyed by death. The love of the poet for the maiden was so great that it was envied by the "wingèd seraphs." Hence, with Poe's conviction that all the circumstances of life were against him, it was inevitable that a cold wind should blow out of a cloud "chilling and killing" his beloved, and that even her corpse should be taken from him to be buried in a tomb by the sea. Yet nothing, not even death, can separate him from the woman he so loved. The second stanza reads:
She was a child and I 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 wingèd seraphs of heaven
Coveted her and me.