Text of the Poem

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.
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 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 by night,
Chilling my Annabel Lee;
So that her high-born 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, 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 see 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 side of the sea.


  1. The phrase “my darling—my darling” is an epizeuxis, or a phrase that is immediately repeated without any words to divide it as a diacope does. The repetition of “my darling” is already forceful, but Poe’s addition of em dashes (—) creates an even more emotionally charged tone.

    — Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor
  2. The narrator concludes by reiterating his proclamation from the penultimate stanza: his connection to Annabel Lee has not waned since her death. She maintains an almost supernatural presence in his life, appearing in dreams and in the stars of the night sky.

    — Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor
  3. The verb “to dissever” means to divide or separate two or more things. The narrator believes that the love he shared with Annabel Lee was so strong that not even angels nor demons can keep them apart, even after her death.

    — Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor
  4. This line and the next use sibilance, a device in which words with the letter “s” are repeated in succession so that they create a hissing sound when recited. This form of repetition is particularly noticeable because of the hiss; as a result, the narrator’s bold declaration that nothing can separate his soul from Annabel Lee’s has an even more emotional impact.

    — Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor
  5. Poe uses anaphora, or the repetition of words at the beginning of successive lines or phrases, to further underscore the depth of the love shared by the narrator and Annabel Lee. Their love has an almost supernatural strength, given that neither angels nor demons are capable of separating the lovers’ souls.

    — Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor
  6. This line uses alliteration, or the repetition of consonants. Repeating the softness of the letter “h,” as opposed to a hard consonant, reinforces the poem’s tone and lulling rhythm.

    — Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor
  7. A “sepulchre” is a tomb or other small room carved in rock or stone in which to bury or lay to rest a dead body.

    — Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor
  8. The narrator’s portrayal of jealous angels who covet the love he shares with Annabel Lee is a paradox, or a contradictory statement that seems to contain some element of truth. Angels in heaven are commonly depicted as loving beings who commit good deeds and watch over humans on Earth. Therefore, the idea of angels killing out of jealousy is in direct contrast to expectations. However, the narrator depicts Annabel Lee as an almost angelic figure, and it is possible that the angels intended for her to join them for this reason.

    — Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor
  9. To “covet” means to desire something or to wish to possess something or someone. Poe’s choice of the word “covet” possibly alludes to the tenth of the Ten Commandments laid out by the Judeo-Christian God, who declares that “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife” or anything belonging to one’s neighbor.

    — Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor
  10. “Seraphs” are angels, which comprise the highest order of the Christian celestial hierarchy. Angels are traditionally associated with kindness, order, and purity.

    — Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor
  11. This line uses diacope, or the repetition of words separated by other words, by repeating the word “child.” In this context, diacope both contributes to the poem’s repetitive nature while also introducing a tone of nostalgia by emphasizing that they were both children.

    — Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor
  12. “To love and be loved” is an example of antimetabole, or the repetition of a phrase in reverse order. In this case, the reverse of “to love” is to “be loved.” This particular use of repetition emphasizes the love between the narrator and Annabel Lee, who seems to have loved him just as intensely as he still loves her.

    — Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor
  13. This line uses assonance, or the repetition of vowels, in the words “this,” “lived,” and “with.” Assonance is another form of repetition that Poe employs to maintain the poem’s hypnotic rhythm.

    — Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor
  14. The phrase “a kingdom by the sea” is repeated five times throughout the poem. Poe’s heavy use of repetition, along with the poem’s wavelike rhythm, establishes a whimsical tone of nostalgia and sadness.

    — Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor
  15. This line is an anapest, a type of poetic meter used repeatedly throughout the poem. An anapest is a three-syllable pattern featuring two unstressed syllables followed by a stressed syllable. In “Annabel Lee,” anapestic meter creates a cadence that imitates the waves rolling in on the beach.

    — Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor
  16. The rhythm of this poem, which is anapestic, seems intended to suggest that the setting is right by the sea and the waves keep rolling in with regularity, one after another. This has a soothing and lulling effect, as does the fact that it is a moonlit and starry night. The speaker is not mourning his loss but assuring himself that he and his Annabel Lee will be together throughout the eternity which is represented by the moon, the stars, and the boundless ocean.

    — William Delaney