Annabel Lee

By Edgar Allan Poe


Welcome to the mesmerizing world of “Annabel Lee,” a poem by the acclaimed poet Edgar Allan Poe. This piece stands out as one of Poe’s most famous works, largely due to its compelling narrative of undying love and heartbreaking tragedy. 🌊💔 Written in 1849, the same year Poe died, this poem is often considered a reflection of his own turbulent and melancholic life, particularly echoing his feelings for his wife Virginia, who had passed away two years earlier.

“Annabel Lee” belongs to the genre of romantic poetry, where Poe, with his characteristic mastery of language and sound, delves deep into themes of love that transcends even death. Its lyrical beauty and rhythmic cadence draw readers into a hauntingly beautiful yet sorrowful story set in a kingdom by the sea.

Meaning of Annabel Lee

Opening Section
In the opening lines of “Annabel Lee,” the speaker introduces Annabel Lee as someone who lived in a “kingdom by the sea.” This beginning sets a fairy-tale-like tone, establishing the poem’s setting and its dreamlike, almost mythical quality.

“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;”

Mid Section
As the poem progresses, the narrative delves into the depth of the speaker’s love for Annabel Lee. It describes how their love was so intense and pure that even the angels in heaven envied them. This envy is suggested to be the cause of Annabel Lee’s untimely death, marking a shift from an idyllic love story to one of tragic loss.

“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.”

Concluding Section
The poem concludes on a note of eternal devotion, with the speaker sleeping by the side of his beloved Annabel Lee’s tomb every night. This shows the depth of his love, persisting beyond death, embodying the theme of an everlasting bond not even death can sever.

“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.”

In-depth Analysis

Stanza 1

  • Theme: Introduction to Annabel Lee and the setting.
  • Symbols: The “kingdom by the sea” symbolizes a timeless, almost otherworldly realm of love.

Stanza 2

  • Literary Techniques: Use of repetition emphasizes the deep connection between the speaker and Annabel Lee.
  • Syntax and Diction: Simple yet powerful choice of words enhances the emotional intensity.

Stanza 3

  • Figurative Language: Personification of the angels’ envy adds a supernatural element to the narrative.
  • Symbols: Angels as symbols of both purity and jealousy.

Stanza 4

  • Theme: The conflict between the eternal love and the earthly death.
  • Symbol: “The stars” symbolize the natural, untouchable elements that bear witness to their love.
  • Literary Techniques: The juxtaposition of celestial beauty and earthly demise accentuates the tragic contrast.

Stanza 5

  • Figurative Language: “The angels, not half so happy in Heaven,/ Went envying her and me—” This personification suggests that supernatural forces could interfere with human emotions and fates.
  • Syntax and Diction: The deliberate choice of words like “envying” adds a sinister tone to the heavenly beings, typically seen as pure.

Stanza 6

  • Imagery: Descriptions of the night and dreams filled with thoughts of Annabel Lee enrich the emotional landscape.
  • Symbol: “The moon” as a quiet, constant observer and “the stars” as symbols of hope and remembrance.

Poetic Devices used in Annabel Lee

Alliteration“The beautiful Annabel Lee”Enhances the musical quality of Poe’s verse.
Assonance“That a maiden there lived whom you may know”Creates internal rhymes that add to the poem’s lyrical quality.
Personification“The angels, not half so happy in heaven”Adds emotional depth, making nature a living part of the narrative.
Anaphora“But we loved with a love that was more than love”Emphasizes the intensity and depth of their love.
Internal Rhyme“Of my darling—my darling—my life and my bride”Contributes to the melody and reinforces memory and loss.
Enjambment“A wind blew out of a cloud, chilling/My beautiful Annabel Lee”Maintains the poem’s flow and suspense.
Repetition“In her tomb by the sounding sea”Stresses the permanence and sadness of Annabel Lee’s death.
Rhyme SchemeUses a complex pattern to enhance musicality.Helps establish a haunting, memorable quality.
Metaphor“Coveted her and me” implies theft of happiness.Introduces the idea of love being so strong it invites envy.
Symbolism“Sea” symbolizes vast, eternal nature of his love.Represents eternal love, depth, and mystery.

Annabel Lee – FAQs

Q: What is the theme of ‘Annabel Lee’?
A: The central theme of “Annabel Lee” is the eternal nature of true love, which transcends even death.

Q: Who is the speaker in the poem?
A: The speaker is a man who deeply loved Annabel Lee and mourns her death, expressing his undying love throughout the poem.

Q: What literary period does ‘Annabel Lee’ belong to?
A: “Annabel Lee” is part of the Romantic period, focusing on emotion, nature, and the sublime.

Q: How does Edgar Allan Poe portray the sea in the poem?
A: The sea in “Annabel Lee” is portrayed as a constant and powerful force, reflective of his enduring love and sorrow.

Q: What does the envy of the angels signify in the poem?
A: The envy of the angels highlights the supernatural and almost otherworldly quality of the love between the speaker and Annabel Lee, suggesting that it was so profound that even celestial beings could covet it.

Q: What does Poe suggest about the nature of love in ‘Annabel Lee’?
A: Poe suggests that true love is profound, spiritual, and transcends the physical boundaries of life and death.

Q: Can ‘Annabel Lee’ be considered a ballad? Why or why not?
A: Yes, “Annabel Lee” can be considered a ballad due to its narrative structure, regular rhyme scheme, and repetition, all of which are typical features of ballads.

Q: What role does the setting play in ‘Annabel Lee’?
A: The setting, a kingdom by the sea, plays a crucial role in creating a romantic and timeless atmosphere that enhances the themes of love and loss.

Q: How does the poem reflect Edgar Allan Poe’s personal life?
A: The poem reflects Poe’s life through its themes of loss and mourning, mirroring his personal experiences with the deaths of significant women in his life, including his wife Virginia.

Q: What is the effect of the poem’s refrain on its structure and impact?
A: The refrain “In her tomb by the sounding sea” emphasizes the relentless nature of grief and the constant presence of loss, helping to build a rhythmic, hypnotic quality that deepens the emotional impact.

Annabel Lee Study Guide

Exercise: Identify and list all the poetic devices used in the following verse of “Annabel Lee”:

“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.”


  • Alliteration: “We loved with a love”
  • Repetition: “more than love”
  • Personification: “wingèd seraphs of Heaven coveted”
  • Enjambment: Lines flow beyond their end without grammatical break.