Lon4on 'Office : j58, Fritil Street. London, W.l.
Edited by COMPTON MACKENZIE
TELEiPBOlB: Regent 7977, 7978.
Parmaxto, Weetcent, London.
LST month I wrote with a certain amount of indignation about the maltreatment by Mr. Walter Glynne of Edgar Allan Poe's exquisite lyric, Annabel Lee. This has brought me the following letter from the Gramophone Company:
With reference to your criticism in the issue of THE GRAMOPHONE this month of Mr. Walter Glynne's record of A nna,belle Lee, I am enclosing a copy of this song as published by Messrs. Cramer and would suggest that you compare this with Mr. Glynne's record, when I think you will find that Mr. Glynne gives a word-perfect performance according to the published copy. I f you agree that this is so you may perhaps consider i t due to Mr. Walter Glynne to correct the charge of "half-a·dozen mistakes" made in your article.
With regard to the spelling of the t i t le, you will see from the attached copy of this song that we have been guilty of no other error than an adherence to the printed copy, which is necessary for identification purposes, although we are quite aware that Edgar Allan Poe did not spell the t i t le in this manner. I hasten to acquit Mr. Glynne of carelessness with regard to his singing of the words as published in the song, but at the same time I must impute a more culpable carelessness to him and to the Gramophone Company and to Messrs. Cramer, and to the late Sims Reeves and to the late Henry LeSlie, the -composer, whose name is printed in large letters on the cover of the song whereas Edgar Allan Poe's name only appears on the inside. Here is the poem as written by Poe:
I t 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 which was more than lov:e
I and my Annabel Lee; With a love that the winged 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 kinsman came
And bore her away from me, To shut her up in a sepulchre
In this kingdom by the sea. The angels, not half so happy in heaven,
Went envying her and 1M-Yes I-that was the reason (as all men know,
In this kingdom by the sea) That the wind came out of the cloud by nig \1
Chilling and killing my A 1tnabel Lee. But our love i t was stronger by far than the love
Of those who were older than weOf 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 the sepulchre there by the sea, In her tomb by the sounding sea.
I have printed in italics the four words changed in the song version and the lines omitted altogether. It may seem a trifle to print "that" instead of "which," but i t has been well ,said that the proper use of "that" and "which" is a great test of whether a man can or cannot write good English. Poe wrote "which" with a full sense of i ts value. He wrote" which" to follow up the" with" which precedes i t . He wanted to avoid the double " th " of "with" and "that," and fina.lly he wanted to emphasise the greatness of the love by using " which." "Which" is a stronger rela.tive pronoun here than" that" would have been. A love that is more than love sounds conventional and cold as a phrase when put beside a love which is more than