Study Guide

Annabel Lee Stanza 6

By Edgar Allan Poe

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Stanza 6

Lines 34-37

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;

  • Here's the proof that their love between the speaker and Annabel Lee isn't dead (at least in the mind of the speaker).
  • Notice that this stanza starts with a shift from the past tense into the present tense. He was telling a story about something that happened long ago, but now he's letting us know what's happening right now.
  • The descriptions of his current life sound a bit creepy.
  • Whenever the moon shines, he dreams of Annabel Lee. Whenever the stars come out, he feels Annabel's eyes on him. This imagery is shared by many of Poe's poems and stories. His main characters are often haunted by dreams and visions of women that they loved. Most of the time, those women are dead but not gone.
  • Just notice how weird and intense these images are. He doesn't say: "When I see the stars, I think of her." He says that when the stars come out "I feel the bright eyes" of Annabel Lee. It's almost like her eyes are there, and are burning into him. We are building up to something strange towards the end of the poem.

Lines 38-41

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.

  • Now we arrive at the reason why this could never be a sweet pop song or a Disney movie. Because their love is unbroken, because they can't be separated by death, our speaker spends his nights curled up next to Annabel's dead body.
  • After he hits us with that super-disturbing image, he follows it up by telling us that she is his darling, his life, and his bride. They were not married in life, but now they can be united in death.
  • The speaker seems increasingly obsessed and unbalanced as the poem goes on, and this is what it all leads to. He is half-alive and half-dead, sleeping in a tomb by the ocean.
  • Poe leaves us with one last haunting phrase, "the sounding sea," which makes us think of the booming roar of the ocean, suddenly terrifying and cold. Sorry, there's definitely no happy ending here.

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