Text: Edgar Allan Poe, “Annabel Lee” (Text-01), “Griswold” manuscript, late May 1849


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 Annabel Lee. 

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 wingéd seraphs in 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 kinsmen 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.

 


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Notes:

This is probably the last poem Poe wrote, although the precise timing in regard to “Sonnet To My Mother” is difficult to establish with certainty. In 1850, Frances S. Osgood identified Poe’s wife, Virginia, as the real Annabel Lee, an attribution that has meet with much agreement. In contrast, T. O. Mabbott and other scholars have pointed out that although perhaps inspired, in part, by Virginia, Annabel Lee is a fictional character and need not truly represent any real person. Elmira Shelton, Poe’s childhood sweetheart, considered herself as Annabel Lee, even though she outlived the author by many years.

This version of the poem was sent by Poe to Rufus W. Griswold about June of 1849, for inclusion in the upcoming edition of Griswold’s anthology of American poetry, The Poets and Poetry of America. Griswold did print it in the 1850 edition. A photographic facsimile of the title and first 3 stanzas of this manuscript was printed by Thomas O. Mabbott in The Collected Works of Edgar Allan Poe - Volume I: Poems, Cambridge: Belknap Press, 1969, on the inverse of the page facing p. 353. The manuscript is now in the collection of Harvard. The cataloging code assigned by Harvard is MS AM 233.6. According to the catalog acquisition entry: “Deposited by Mrs. Arthur W. Locke, Mrs. Arthur W. Fletcher, Mrs. Roger Griswold Esq., and Merrill Griswold Esq.; 1949 Oct. 20; Gift 1952 Dec. 12.”

The manuscript is written in brown ink on the front side only of two quarto sheets of off-white, lightly-ruled paper. The two sheets have been joined to form a roll manuscript, as was Poe’s habit. The second sheet begins with the line “The angels, not half so happy in Heaven.”


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[S:2 - MS, 1849] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Works - Poems - Annabel Lee (Text-01)