Captain Obvious' Guide to: Edgar Allan Poe

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Përshëndetje good people! That is hello in Albanian, which just now gave me the idea to learn to say hello in as many languages as the internet allows. New project y'all. Now stop derailing my train of thought so I can get to the topic at hand.

I was going to make a goldfish joke, but I forgot. 88notes

Last week, the intelligent, classically good looking and humble Captain Obvious led the way through one of her favourite Henley poems. For this week, I present a guide to another one of my favourites: Edgar Allan Poe.

mind-blowing illustration by Cristiano Siqueira

Yes, the Grandfather of Goth. Probably most famous for "The Raven" and appearing in lists of facts that cheerful bloggers are not entirely sure of, E.A. Poe had the mystery and horror genre down pat. I won't even go into the tragedy in and of Poe's life because, well, I'm having a good day and I don't want to be sad. I will, however, highlight one of his most beautiful poems, 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 wingèd seraphs of Heaven
   Coveted her and me.

Right out of the gate, I'm three "Awwww!"'s in. The last two lines, while open to interpretation as unhealthily obsessive love, I choose to find adorable. Poe makes a point of kicking off the narrative as sort of a chat with a friend situation, which in my humble opinion connects the reader to the narrator, making the emotional reaction to events that much deeper since it's happening to a "friend".

there there, friend. collegehumor

Brace yourselves, friends, feels are coming:

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 kinsmen 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.

*sepulchre is a tomb
Oi vey. Please know that if ninjas in your ceiling suddenly started to cut onions, which are currently burning your eyes, it's fine and we don't blame you. Our "friend" has now lost the love of his life, possibly due to pneumonia or tuberculosis which were rife back in the day. In his distraught state, he tries to make sense of the unfairness of life by decides that angels took his beloved from him out of jealousy of their great love. Anyone else spot a study in how people deal with grief in real life, and possibly a glimpse into how Poe himself came to terms with his loss?

damn ninja onions. agoosa

A moment to appreciate the structure of the poem: the first two stanzas have Poe introduce us to an amazing love story, with the next two serving to draw us into the sorrow and grief (and possible denial) of the narrator. The interpretation of the next two is subjective, depending on your personal view of love and such:

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 her sepulchre there by the sea—
   In her tomb by the sounding sea.

While I choose to ignore the possible literal translation of the last four lines which would sully this gorgeous narrative, these last two verses show that the narrator has chosen not to give up on Annabel Lee, loving her even beyond the chasm of death and staying devoted to her. A sweet love story...with a tragic implication. While it is fine and dandy to remain devoted to Annabel after her premature demise, these last two verses give us the impression that the narrator has strayed into a path that restricts him from ever moving past this loss and resuming a normal life. One can only assume that this obsession consumes his life, possibly making it impossible for him to find love or happiness again, doomed to a "relationship" with the perfectly preserved image of Annabel.

Woof. Time for a much-needed cuteness break. favim

And there you have it folks, the obvious has been pointed out and meanings have been inferred from thin air. Of course, it is entirely possible that I got the tone of the poem wrong and Poe was a master troll setting up the most gruesome of his horror stories yet: in which the narrator was consumed by his love and need to be with Annabel to the point of madness....and actually sneaking in to her sepulchre to quietly die next to her remains. In which case:

 Poetry is beautiful. gifeye


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