“Long Ago and Far Away in a Kingdom by the Sea” – Poe, perhaps America’s most Musical and Cadenced Poet

Annabel Lee

By Edgar Allan Poe

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 wingèd 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 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.
Share this text …?
 (Haha, this is nothing!  Read his “Tintabulation of Bells!”)
Time was when word music and melody suited to the subject of the poem was a dire requirement, and proficiency in this area was proof positive of serious poetic talent.   When novitiates stopped studying prosody, theme and meter, the capacity was lost.
Today most lazy, ill-equipped “poets” think they can squeak by without it and imply such proficiency is passe’, even hokey. Sour grapes; they can’t perform! When a major prosody genius, a luminary like Seamus Heany, for instance, (or Theodore Roethke), stumbles though the highways and byways of our literary magazines, he reignites a new appreciation for the power of musical language to strengthen our verse, to make it impossible to forget, indeed, to render it instantly memorable.  Theodore_Roethke

About Margaret Jean Langstaff

A lifelong critical reader with literary tastes, a novelist, short story writer, essayist, book critic, and professional book editor for many years. A consultant to publishers and authors, providing manuscript critiques and a full range of editorial services. A friend and supporter of all other readers and writers. A collector of signed modern first editions. Animal lover and tree hugger. Follow me on Twitter @LangstaffEditor
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9 Responses to “Long Ago and Far Away in a Kingdom by the Sea” – Poe, perhaps America’s most Musical and Cadenced Poet

  1. bowmanauthor says:

    My absolute favorite by the writer who inspired me to be what I am. Poe sang his verse, and I could always hear him.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. bowmanauthor says:

    Yes, I have studied Poe in depth since I was a mere child, when I fell in love with his poetic prose. My mother gave me his full works when I started college as an American Lit student, including essays, critiques, letters, and poems. There is much misinformation in historical textbooks about his tragic life. I live in Maryland and have yet to visit his burial site. Definitely on my bucket list. There is a quaint, yet touristy pub called The Annabel Lee in Baltimore with intriguing old collections. Have you read Eureka!, his theory on the creation of the solar system? Very much a big bang theory with his own unique genius. A few years ago I met the mayor of Havre Dr Grace, MD, at an event, and he told me this preposterous story how Poe really died in a gutter in their city of grace, and they were so embarrassed the town officials secreted the body away to a bad part of Baltimore. All hogwash, I’m sure. Ah, for the lost Lenore, he still laments.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Mario says:

    Hi, Margaret! That’s a beautiful poem. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

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