Annabel Lee Summary

"Annabel Lee" is the last poem by Edgar Allan Poe. It tells the story of the love between the speaker and a young woman named Annabel Lee.

  • The angels were jealous of the relationship between Annabel Lee and the speaker; they sent a chilling wind to kill Annabel Lee, whose family buried her in a tomb by the sea.
  • The speaker claims that the childhood love between himself and Annabel Lee is stronger than the love of those older and wiser and that neither angels nor demons can separate their souls.
  • In his grief, the speaker reveals that he spends each night lying beside Annabel Lee in her tomb.

Introduction

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"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.

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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."

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