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annabel lee

            With the bare hints of a medieval)"Kingdom" "high-born kinsmen") ballad setting("long ago," "you may know"- familiarity with a popular ballad?)the poem launches into a relentless onomatopeia echo of the waves on the shore. Most of these settings usually turn gothically grim and this is no exception. .
             His two breaks in the alternating rhyme scheme(waves vary too!)signify two important emotions typical of this late stage of his life. The first couplet ("older than we" "far wiser than we")is bitterly mocking in tone of his distinguished foes and oppressors(angels in heaven). See the dwarf and girl in the story "Hop-Frog". Instead of providing heavenly Hope he blames their "envy" for intentionally separating them.(An Orpheus moment, but totally defiant) Nothing can "ever dissever my soul from the soul of Annabel Lee." This recalls ideal love as in "Al Araaf" that uses the same sound combo for emphasis. A chill wind from the angels destroys her. the "love more a love" is beyond marital bonding to a metaphysical plane as soul is to body("To my Mother" speaks of his lost Virginia this way. So on the boundary "by the sea" he lies down by the body, the one physical reality they share though their souls are onm two different sides. For Poe the borderland could be mixed and crossed with the real world and the beyond- at least in the mind or dreams. The second couplet addition "by the side" "Of my darling- my darling- my life and my bride" is probably the most intense expression of this sorrowful, poignant defiance and proclamation. No, Poe did not sleep with his wife's dead body! .
             The tide, the "sounding sea" has the last word. The effect, if it does not seem to exagerrated for your taste is very powerful, disturbing, tragically defiant and sorrowful. Not to be a wet blanket, but the narrator, despite his total bonding with his innocent beloved is very self-absorbed with his denial, suffering, possession of the beloved and anger.

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