“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 highborn 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 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 sepulchre there by the sea,
In her tomb by the sounding sea.”


There is much debate regarding the inspiration for Poe’s poem, Annabel Leigh. Many believe that Annabel Leigh was inspired by the author’s wife, Virginia while several other childhood acquaintences of Poe’s also claim to be the Annabelleigh of the poem. Whatever the truth surrounding the identity of the mysterious Annabel Leigh it is undoubtedly the case that the poem has exercised a continuing influence since it’s composition (and first publication) in 1849.


In Nabakov’s Lolita Humbert Humbert (the novel’s paedophilic narrator) describes how, in boyhood he loved a young girl by the name of Annabel Leigh, however their relationship remained unconsummated and (as in the poem) Humbert’s sweetheart dies young. Again Nabakov originally intended Lolita to be entitled “The Kingdom by the Sea” a phrase borrowed from Poe’s poem.


Some have argued that the poem contains hints of paedophilia, however the lines “I was a child and she was a child” would appear to disprove this hypothesis as paedophilia implies a sexual relationship between a child below the age of consent with an adult and this is (clearly) not the case in Poe’s Annabel Leigh.


For an interesting discussion of the connections between the poem and Lolita please visit


About kevinmorris101

I live and work in London and blog as a hobby. If you would like to contact me please send an email to animalia at (the address is rendered in this manner in order to try and defeat spammers)!
This entry was posted in Poetry and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Mohamed says:

    I find the poem so remantic . It forshadows a true love that noone can feel it but the one gives and takes it ;

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