Annabel Lee Poem Summary and Line by Line Analysis by Edgar Allen Poe in English


The story “Annabel Lee” centers on a sweet yet tragic memory. The poem’s narrator is thinking of his long-lost love, Annabel Lee. When Annabel Lee was a young woman, the speaker knew her and they both lived in a kingdom by the sea. These two were the only children, yet they were genuinely, deeply in love.

About The Poet

A writer, poet, editor, and literary critic, Edgar Allan Poe was an American. Poe is best renowned for his short stories and poems, especially his macabre and mystery-themed works. He is largely considered as a key representative of American Romanticism and American literature.

Rhyme Scheme

The rhyme scheme used in this poem is ababcb  dbebfb

Lines 1-6

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.

The poem is introduced as a fairy tale. The description includes a long-ago era, a distant kingdom, and of course, a young woman. The poem’s main character is this young woman. She is  a young, pretty girl and she is described as a “maiden.” Both the speaker and the maiden’s youth are apparent in these lines. Other than love, they don’t think or care about anything else. The speaker and Annabel Lee are both young and in love. 

Lines 7-12

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 wingèd seraphs of Heaven
   Coveted her and me.

In this kingdom by the sea, him and Annabel were both children, but they fell in love with one another with a passion so intense that the wing-like seraphims of heaven desired her and him.

Lines 13-20

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 kinsmen came
   And bore her away from me,
To shut her up in a sepulchre
   In this kingdom by the sea.

And for this reason, beautiful Annabel Lee was frozen by a wind that came out of a cloud long ago in this realm, by the sea. He clarifies that it was people’s thoughts of resentment that caused “a wind to blow out of a cloud, chilling my beautiful Annabel Lee.” According to the poet, this kinsman was either a relative who had passed away before her and had come to take her soul to heaven or he was an alive relative who had come to take Annabel Lee away because she was ill.

In either case, the speaker is left without his sweetheart. A  sepulchre either refers to a  tomb or to an attractive house that the speaker perceives as a tomb since the person he loves has been imprisoned there, where he can no longer see her.

Lines 21-26

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.

The speaker thinks that angels are to blame for his loss of his young beloved. He adds that they are still jealous of him, which makes them appear vengeful. These lines indicate that Annabel Lee has passed away, but they do not specify whether the initial frost was the cause of death or whether the angels, who were still jealous, sent a second chill to take her life. Given that this is undoubtedly not a happily ever after, the tone makes the reader feel the pain of death and loss much more.

Lines 27-34

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;

The speaker affirms again how much they loved one another, even saying that it was more powerful than the love of the adults he knew. The poet claims that their love is not a naive, childlike love that will be quickly forgotten after Annabel Lee passes away. These words show that even after Annabel Lee passed away, the speaker continued to love her. He asserted that even the angels of death would fail to be able to sever them from one another since his soul would continue to love her soul. He claims that even though they physically took her body away from him, they were unable to separate their souls. 

Lines 35-42

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.

The speaker explains in detail how his soul is still connected to Annabel Lee’s soul. He says that every night he dreams of her. He will undoubtedly dream of Annabel Lee if the moon is certain to shine at night. He therefore encounters her there in his nightmares and his soul never stops loving her soul. He couldn’t be with her physically anymore, but he can still feel her brilliant eyes every time he looks at the stars. Despite being a child, the poet saw Annabel Lee as his own bride. He has demonstrated that this love was greater than those who were older and wiser.