Love Without Barriers:
Virginia is the Inspiration for Annabel Lee
The poem “Annabel Lee,” by Edgar Allan Poe depicts a deep grief towards the death of his beloved wife and cousin, Virginia Clemm. Throughout the poem, the narrator expresses the melancholic emotions he suffered after the death of his beloved one, however the feelings towards her were so intense that not even death could separate them. Poe expresses, in his letters to his Aunt Maria Clemm and friend, George Eveleth, the passionate affection he had for his wife, Virginia, as being intense and eternal. The feelings that Poe expresses throughout his letters are the same feelings he expresses in his poem; therefore Virginia is the inspiration of this poem.
Virginia suffered from tuberculosis and died in 1847, two years prior to the writing of Poe’s poem; her death caused Poe to enter a deep depression. Just as John Cowper Powys comments in Marie Rose Napierkowsk’s book, Poetry for Students, “Poe expresses ‘a certain dark, willful melancholy,’ a cold mood that Poe ‘must surely himself have known.’ Powys's suggestion may spring from Poe's experience with loss, and in particular the death of his child bride, Virginia Clemm” (Powys as qtd Napierkowski 19). In the poem the narrator mentions, “she was a child” and “-my life and my bride,” which refers to Virginia as “his child bride,” since Poe married her when she was thirteen years old. (Poe 7-39). As Powys describes it, the mood of Poe’s poem is lamenting the death of his wife, Virginia. In the poem, the narrator even states that their bond was so strong that not even death could separate their eternal love for one another.
Throughout the poem, the narrator expresses that his love will never end, even if his beloved was dead. Similarly, Poe’s love towards Virginia was so faithful and pure that it would tear him apart if ever it were to end. Poe wrote to his Aunt Maria Clemm:
I love, you know I love Virginia passionately devotedly. I...