Annabel Lee: Musical Devices

Annabel Lee has so many musical devices in it. Whenever we read this poem, we feel like singing. How Edgar Alan Poe picked the words to match the sound is so wonderful. The characteristic of this poem is that there are consistencies of end-rhymes in every stanza. In the first stanza to the fourth, we can see that there are repetitions of words ‘sea’, ‘Lee’, and ‘me’ at the end of line. The repetitions are constant. Then, the fourth stanza has the same repetitions with its previous ones, but in this stanza, there is also a repetition of the sound [au] in ‘out’ and ‘cloud’.

Poe, as the poet, also put repetitions of phrases; ‘In a kingdom by the sea’ and ‘In this kingdom by the sea’ in every stanza except the two last ones. This repetition is called refrain because those two phrases are regularly repeated to emphasize and also to beautify the sound. Besides refrain of phrase repetitions, there are also word repetitions in the same line. To make more understand about the musical devices used in this Annabel Lee poem, here is its analysis for every each stanza: (The numbering indicates the stanza)

The first stanza above contains of word refrain, end-rhyme, and alliteration. Word-refrains are stated in the first and the last line; ‘many’ and ‘love’. Then, end-rhymes in this stanza are ‘ago’ and ‘know’; ‘sea’, ‘Lee’, and ‘me’. Words using alliteration are ‘maiden’ and ‘may’.

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.

Word-refrains are found in the first and the third line; ‘was a child’ and ‘love’. As what has been explained, this stanza has an end-rhyme which is the repetition of the word ‘sea’, ‘Lee’, ‘me’. Another musical device found is alliteration and stated in the fifth line; [wi].

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, end-rhyme is by the repetition of ‘sea’, ‘Lee’, and ‘me’. Then, the third line is included in assonance because it has the repetition of the same vowel [au]. The same with the third line, the seventh line also has assonance repetition.

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.  

End-rhyme is found twice in the fourth stanza. The end-rhyme is ‘me’, ‘sea’, and ‘Lee’. The same with the previous stanza, this stanza also has assonance which is the repetition of ‘out’ and ‘cloud’. In the last line, ‘chilling’ and ‘killing’ have the same sound and writing [lling] which makes them feminine rhyme. 

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.  

Word-refrains are stated in this stanza in the first and the sixth line, with the word ‘love’ and ‘soul’. Then, end-rhyme can also be found by the repetition of the word ‘we’, ‘sea’, and ‘Lee’ at the end of line. The word ‘ever’ and ‘dissever’ are included infeminine rhyme.

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.

Near rhyme is stated in the first line by the repetition of ‘beams’ and ‘dreams’. Then the words ‘rise’ and ‘eyes’ are included in assonance because they have the same vowel [ais]. In the fifth line is also found the repetition of ‘night’, ‘tide’, and ‘bride’ in the same line which is called internal rhymeEnd-rhyme is also found here by repeating the sound ‘Lee’ and ‘sea’; and; ‘side’ and ‘bride’.

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.


Pick what analysis aspect of Annabel Lee you want to read by clicking below links. 
Denotation and Connotation 
Imagery
Figurative Language
Rhytm and Meter
Tone and Theme