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Thursday, October 20, 2011

Annabel Lee

(Lady in a Yellow Dress Watering Roses,
Maryland, 1830, by Elizabeth Glaser,
American watercolorist)

For most of us, our first experience of falling in love often, sadly, comes to an end, yet it also continues to live on forever.

Sometimes an emotion can be so profound that it is better suited to expression in poetry. Described in prose, the feelings would seem merely melodramatic, even kitsch. But stated in the language of poetry, with its repetition, its form in meter and rhyme, inverted syntax, and unexpected images, the poet’s ardor becomes calmer and thus easier for the reader to understand and to appreciate, as in this well-known ballad.


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 high-born kinsman came
And bore her away from me,
To shut her up in a sepulcher
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 the sepulcher there by the sea,
In her tomb by the side of the sea.

~ Edgar Allan Poe (1801-1849), American poet, writer, and father of the detective story

1 comment:

I'm Jet . . . said...

Yes, first loves do tend to live on.