“Annabel Lee” by Edgar Allan Poe [Manuscript, 2 p., ca. May 1849]. Clearly sensing that “Annabel Lee” would be his last poem, Poe took the unusual step, after finishing it in May 1849, of writing out several copies, of which this signed copy is one, and circulating them among his friends to ensure that the poem would not go unnoticed. Poe read the poem in lectures in Richmond and sold it, along with “The Bells,” to Sartain’s Union Magazine of Literature and Art for publication. However, it was first printed in the New-York Daily Tribune on October 9, 1849, only two days after the poet’s death, rushed into print by Rufus Griswold, who had received a copy for later inclusion in the tenth edition of The Poets and Poetry of America. Although at least four of Poe’s women friends claimed to have inspired “Annabel Lee,” the poet’s real motivation may be a reflection of his continued mourning for his wife, Virginia, who died two years earlier. (via Columbia.edu)
Much of the beginning to Lolita is an homage to this poem. It’s really quite gorgeous.