For Annie

Original Text: 
The Works of the Late Edgar Allan Poe, ed. R. W. Griswold (New York: J. S. Redfield, 1850), II, 48-51.
2    The danger, is past,
3And the lingering illness
4    Is over at last--
5And the fever called "Living"
6    Is conquered at last.
7Sadly, I know
8    I am shorn of my strength,
9And no muscle I move
10    As I lie at full length--
11But no matter!--I feel
12    I am better at length.
13And I rest so composedly,
14    Now, in my bed,
15That any beholder
16    Might fancy me dead--
17Might start at beholding me,
18    Thinking me dead.
19The moaning and groaning,
20    The sighing and sobbing,
21Are quieted now,
22    With that horrible throbbing
23At heart:--ah, that horrible,
24    Horrible throbbing!
25The sickness--the nausea--
26    The pitiless pain--
27Have ceased, with the fever
28    That maddened my brain--
29With the fever called "Living"
30    That burned in my brain.
31And oh! of all tortures
32    That torture the worst
33Has abated--the terrible
34    Torture of thirst
36    Of Passion accurst:--
37I have drank of a water
38    That quenches all thirst:--
39Of a water that flows,
40    With a lullaby sound,
41From a spring but a very few
42    Feet under ground--
43From a cavern not very far
44    Down under ground.
45And ah! let it never
46    Be foolishly said
47That my room it is gloomy
48    And narrow my bed;
49For man never slept
50    In a different bed--
51And, to sleep, you must slumber
52    In just such a bed.
53My tantalized spirit
54    Here blandly reposes,
55Forgetting, or never
56    Regretting, its roses--
57Its old agitations
58    Of myrtles and roses:
59For now, while so quietly
60    Lying, it fancies
61A holier odor
62    About it, of pansies--
63A rosemary odor,
64    Commingled with pansies--
65With rue and the beautiful
66    Puritan pansies.
67And so it lies happily,
68    Bathing in many
69A dream of the truth
70    And the beauty of Annie--
71Drowned in a bath
72    Of the tresses of Annie.
73She tenderly kissed me,
74    She fondly caressed,
75And then I fell gently
76    To sleep on her breast--
77Deeply to sleep
78    From the heaven of her breast.
79When the light was extinguished,
80    She covered me warm,
81And she prayed to the angels
82    To keep me from harm--
83To the queen of the angels
84    To shield me from harm.
85And I lie so composedly,
86    Now, in my bed,
87(Knowing her love)
88    That you fancy me dead--
89And I rest so contentedly,
90    Now in my bed
91(With her love at my breast).
92    That you fancy me dead--
93That you shudder to look at me,
94    Thinking me dead:--
95But my heart it is brighter
96    Than all of the many
97Stars in the sky,
98    For it sparkles with Annie--
99It glows with the light
100    Of the love of my Annie--
101With the thought of the light
102    Of the eyes of my Annie.


1] "Annie" was Nancy Locke Heywood, Mrs. Charles B. Richmond, a deep but Platonic friend of Poe's (Collected Works of Edgar Allan Poe, ed. Thomas Ollive Mabbott [Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1969]: I, 453-54). The poem appears to be based on one of Poe's worst experiences of opiate despair. Mrs. Richmond outlived him and after her husband's death changed her name to Annie in memory of Poe and his poem. Back to Line
35] naphthaline: naphtha, a flammable liquid solvent Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
RPO Edition: 
RPO 2.0.