Get out the microscope, because we’re going through this poem line-by-line.
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.
- In this stanza the speaker lets us know that both he and Annabel Lee were young when this happened. Not teenagers even, but kids: "I was a child and she was a child."
- This lets us know just how rare and special their love was, but it also tips us off that maybe there's something not quite right here.
- He also repeats the line: "in the kingdom by the sea." This reminds us where we are, but also creates the hypnotic, repeating effect that Poe loves.
- It's the same trick he uses in the next line, when he tells us that he and Annabel "loved with a love that was more than love." He wants to let us know that their love was special and intense, even though they were so young.
- So, the speaker uses the word love three times in the same line, which is a pretty gutsy move for a poet.
- This love was apparently so amazingly strong that the "seraphs" (that's just a fancy word for "angels") in heaven noticed them.
- In fact, these angels apparently "coveted" the two young lovers. That's a kind of tricky word, but an important one for this poem. To covet means to want something really badly, usually something that doesn't belong to you. This is a strange feeling for angels to have, since it's definitely not a holy emotion. It's also our first hint that things might not turn out so well for these two kids.