I was excited to see this week’s music genre for Song Lyric Sunday. Jim Adams, our host, has asked for Bluegrass. I have chosen the song, Annabel Lee, by an artist I have come to really like. Sarah Jarosz, an American folk and bluegrass singer. She was inspired by the poem called ‘Annabel Lee’ by American author, Edgar Allen Poe. It was his last complete poem. Like many of Poe’s poems, it explores the theme of the death of a beautiful woman. The narrator, who fell in love with Annabel Lee when they were young, has a love for her so strong that even angels are envious. He retains his love for her after her death. There has been debate over who, if anyone, was the inspiration for “Annabel Lee”. Though many women have been suggested, Poe’s wife Virginia Eliza Clemm Poe is one of the more credible candidates. Written in 1849, it was not published until shortly after Poe’s death that same year. Like all good mysteries there are local legends. Jarosz’s lyrics are very similar to the poem.
The song is from, ‘Follow Me Down’, the second studio album by American folk and bluegrass singer-songwriter Sarah Jarosz, released on May 17, 2011 on Sugar Hill Records. It was recorded and mixed at Minutia Studios and mastered at The Mastering Lab in Nashville, by Gary Paczosa with additional engineering by Brandon Bell. In 2012, the song “Come Around” was nominated for Song of the Year at the Americana Music Honors & Awards.
Annabel Lee is the singer’s interpretation of Edgar Allan Poe’s last published poem about young, doomed lovers in a kingdom by the sea.
Some say that Poe, who served a brief stint at Fort Moultrie on Sullivan’s Island, was inspired by a Lowcountry tale. Legend has it that a young soldier fell in love with a girl named Annabel Lee. For several months they were inseparable, despite her father’s disapproval, but when the man was shipped out of Charleston, Annabel died of Yellow Fever. He returned to say his goodbyes, but the girl’s father wouldn’t allow him into the funeral. Some say Annabel’s ghost still haunts the Unitarian Cemetery, where she was buried.
Granted, there’s no real proof that Poe had ever heard the legend, and some argue the poem was based on his relationship with his own wife. It went on to inspire Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita, which was originally going to be titled The Kingdom by the Sea.
Wherever the chain of inspiration came from, Jarosz performed her fresh interpretation of the haunting poem just a few blocks away from from the cemetery where Annabel’s ghost is said to reside in Charleston, SC.
Many a year ago In a kingdom by the sea There lived a maiden you may know By the name of Annabelle Lee No other thought did trouble her mind But to love and be loved by me We were children both In this kingdom by the sea But we loved with a love that was more than love I and my Annabelle Lee With a love that the winged angels high Coveted her and me This was the reason long ago In this kingdom by the sea A wind blew from a stormy cloud That took my Annabelle Lee Then her wicked brothers came To steal her away from me They shut her up in a tomb below This kingdom by the sea But no maiden's grave could sever my soul From the love she bore for me For the moon don't beam without a dream Of my darling Annabelle Lee For many years I've wandered Through this kingdom by the sea I've laid myself beside the bones Of my beautiful Annabelle Lee I'll make my bed near the rising tide In her tomb by the sounding sea Source: LyricFind Songwriters: Cameron Scoggins / Sarah Jarosz Annabelle Lee lyrics © Hipgnosis Songs Group