Thursday, October 7, 2010

Edgar Allan Poe

It was on this date in 1849 that Edgar Allan Poe passed away. He was on his way from Richmond to Philadelphia via steamboat. He was to catch a train in Baltimore and then continue on to Philadelphia. He never made it. After having vanished for a period of 5 days, he was found in a tavern on High Street in Baltimore. Theories range from his death at the hands of his fiancee's brothers to his having been kidnapped and "cooped" in the cellar of a local tavern, where he was plied with cognac and opiates. He was then marched to several precints to vote for whatever candidate had "cooped" him prior to the election. We will probably never know the full extent of the mystery surrounding his death. But his poetry and stories will live on forever. Here is one of the first Edgar Allan Poe poems to which I was introduced. I was about 8 years old at the time and the lyrical quality of this poem, along with the sadness of his lost love, hooked me on him forever. While living in Baltimore, my daughter Sarah, and I, were regular visitors to his grave.

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 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.

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