– photographs and messages from inside the Sausurrean Bar –

Annabel Lee


Monday, April 23rd, 2012

Annabel Lee

Tomorrow is session two on the works of Edgar Allan Poe in one of my classes and we’ll be discussing Poe’s “Review of Hawthorne’s Twice-Told Tales” as well as his “Philosophy of Composition”. For transfer work, we’ll be applying things learned from these two theoretical works to both the short story we read and discussed last week, and to (and this is where the title of this post comes in) his poem “Annabel Lee”. Which is – in my opinion – fantastically well composed, and I love the sheer rhythm and soundscape of it … which also means that, once you’ve got it in your brain, it kind of stays there. So I thought I’d share. Three anapaests and then a iamb make for a beautiful rhythm that grabs you right there in the first line, don’t you think?

Annabel Lee
Edgar Allan Poe

It was many and many a year ago,
In a kingdom by the sea,
That a maiden there lived whom you may know
By the name of Annabel Lee;
And this maiden she lived with no other thought
Than to love and be loved by me.

I was a child and she 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 winged seraphs of heaven
Coveted her and me.

And this was the reason that, long ago,
In this kingdom by the sea,
A wind blew out of a cloud, chilling
My beautiful Annabel Lee;
So that her highborn kinsman came
And bore her away from me,
To shut her up in a sepulchre
In this kingdom by the sea.

The angels, not half so happy in heaven,
Went envying her and me–
Yes!–that was the reason (as all men know,
In this kingdom by the sea)
That the wind came out of the cloud by night,
Chilling and killing my Annabel Lee.

But our love it was stronger by far than the love
Of those who were older than we–
Of many far wiser than we–
And neither the angels in heaven above,
Nor the demons down under the sea,
Can ever dissever my soul from the soul
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee:

For the moon never beams, without bringing me dreams
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And the stars never rise, but I feel the bright eyes
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side
Of my darling–my darling–my life and my bride,
In her sepulchre there by the sea,
In her tomb by the sounding sea.

–> Dramatic Rendition.

Bonus random fact:
Nabokov’s original title for Lolita was The Kingdom by the Sea, and Humbert Humbert’s childhood sweetheart’s name is? Annabel Leigh. How about that.

One Response to “Annabel Lee”

  1. john Says:

    Simply Delightful,
    A master was He,
    Thanks for the Wonder,
    Of Annabel Lee.

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