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Edgar Allan Poe – Sullivan’s Island Secrets

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Though it is true that Edgar Allan Poe visited the city of Charleston, it is not really truly known what took place during his stint in the “Holy City.” Before Edgar Allan Poe was known as a dark literary figure, he was a student at the prestigious West Point Military Academy. While on Sullivan’s Island, he wrote the classic short story, “The Gold Bug.” If you go down to Sullivan’s Island today you can visit a great pub, Poe’s Tavern, where you can order burgers named after many of Poe’s famed short stories. View the full list of menu items here.

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The legendary events of Edgar Allan Poe in Charleston are more much more fascinating than the known facts. It is said by many local tour guides, that Edgar Allan Poe fell madly in love with a lady by the name of Annabel Lee while in Charleston. Annabel Lee is believed to have been from an upper crust family here in Charleston. According to legend, they fell in love at first sight and could not be driven apart. Annabel Lee and Poe would meet in secret, in alleyways and graveyards, anywhere they could be alone together. When her father found out she was sneaking away to spend time with this undesirable suitor, he forbade her to meet with him again.

Annabel Lee disobeyed her father and continued to meet him in the cover of darkness, but her father had men spying on her. One day when Annabel Lee was about to leave the house, her father locked her into her room. Poe so entrenched with love and bravery for the lady he walked to her house and demanded to see her, but to no avail her father chased him off and Poe never saw his love again.  Annabel Lee became sick and died.

Poe made a trip to Charleston to see Annabel Lee’s final resting place, but her father would get the last laugh. When her father found out that Poe was back in Charleston, he went to the graveyard and removed the headstones, so that Poe would not know which one was Annabel Lee’s. Many people believe the poem Annabel Lee was written about this young girl from Charleston. Just read the poem, and you can see how the legend may have some truth.

Annabel Lee
By Edgar Allan Poe

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.

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 sepulcher
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.

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

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Posted on August 25, 2014

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