The Complete poems of Edgar Allan Poe, by Edgar Allan Poe

For Annie (1849)

“For Annie” was written for Nancy Richmond (whom Poe called Annie) of Lowell, Massachusetts. Richmond was a married woman and Poe developed a strong platonic, though complicated, relationship with her. The poem was first set to be published on April 28, 1849 in the journal Flag of our Union, which Poe said was a “paper for which sheer necessity compels me to write.” Fearing its publication there would consign it “to the tomb of the Capulets,” he sent it to Nathaniel Parker Willis for publication in the Home Journal on the same day as Flag of Our Union. The poem talks about an illness from which Richmond helped Poe recover. It speaks about “the fever called ‘Living’” that has been conquered, ending his “moaning and groaning” and his “sighing and sobbing.” In a letter dated March 23, 1849, Poe sent the poem he wrote to Richmond saying, “I think the lines ‘For Annie’ (those I now send) much the best I have ever written.”

Richmond would officially change her name to Annie after her husband’s death in 1873.

Thank Heaven! the crisis —

The danger is past,

And the lingering illness

Is over at last —

And the fever called “Living”

Is conquered at last.

Sadly, I know

I am shorn of my strength,

And no muscle I move

As I lie at full length —

But no matter!-I feel

I am better at length.

And I rest so composedly,

Now, in my bed

That any beholder

Might fancy me dead —

Might start at beholding me,

Thinking me dead.

The moaning and groaning,

The sighing and sobbing,

Are quieted now,

With that horrible throbbing

At heart:— ah, that horrible,

Horrible throbbing!

The sickness — the nausea —

The pitiless pain —

Have ceased, with the fever

That maddened my brain —

With the fever called “Living”

That burned in my brain.

And oh! of all tortures

That torture the worst

Has abated — the terrible

Torture of thirst

For the naphthaline river

Of Passion accurst:—

I have drunk of a water

That quenches all thirst:—

Of a water that flows,

With a lullaby sound,

From a spring but a very few

Feet under ground —

From a cavern not very far

Down under ground.

And ah! let it never

Be foolishly said

That my room it is gloomy

And narrow my bed;

For man never slept

In a different bed —

And, to sleep, you must slumber

In just such a bed.

My tantalized spirit

Here blandly reposes,

Forgetting, or never

Regretting its roses —

Its old agitations

Of myrtles and roses:

For now, while so quietly

Lying, it fancies

A holier odor

About it, of pansies —

A rosemary odor,

Commingled with pansies —

With rue and the beautiful

Puritan pansies.

And so it lies happily,

Bathing in many

A dream of the truth

And the beauty of Annie —

Drowned in a bath

Of the tresses of Annie.

She tenderly kissed me,

She fondly caressed,

And then I fell gently

To sleep on her breast —

Deeply to sleep

From the heaven of her breast.

When the light was extinguished,

She covered me warm,

And she prayed to the angels

To keep me from harm —

To the queen of the angels

To shield me from harm.

And I lie so composedly,

Now, in my bed,

(Knowing her love)

That you fancy me dead —

And I rest so contentedly,

Now, in my bed,

(With her love at my breast)

That you fancy me dead —

That you shudder to look at me,

Thinking me dead.

But my heart it is brighter

Than all of the many

Stars in the sky,

For it sparkles with Annie —

It glows with the light

Of the love of my Annie —

With the thought of the light

Of the eyes of my Annie.

p045

http://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/p/poe/edgar_allan/p74p/poem70.html

Last updated Monday, March 17, 2014 at 17:10