The Inchcape Rock

The Inchcape Rock– See more information

Writer: Robert Southey-

He was born in Bristol, England. He was the son of a draper, educated at Westminster School and Balliol College, Oxford.

He was a Poet Laureate of England from 1813 to 1843. Some of his short poems like ‘The Scholar’. ‘The Battle of Blenheim’, ‘Bishop Hatto’, ‘The Inchcape Rock’ etc. are  very popular with  the school children.

The Poem: ‘The Inchcape Rock

It is a ballad. It’s the story of the 14th century. It is the attempt by the Abbot of Aberbrothok to install a warning bell on Inchcape. It is a notorious sandstone reef about 18 km off the east coast of Angus, Scotland, near Dundee and Fife. It is occupied by the Bell Rock Lighthouse.

Story of the poem:

The story is based on the legendary story of a pirate. He removed the bell on the Inchcape Rock placed by the Abbot of Aberbrothok.

The poem begins on a calm note. The waves were flowing over the inchcape rock without any impact. The Abbot of Aberbrothok had placed a bell on the Inchcape Rocks to warn the sailor about the perilous rocks. Sellers got benefit of this bell so they praised the Abbot. When the sea pirate Ralph saw the bell, he felt jealous of the Abbot’s popularity and praise. So he decided to cut the bell. He asked his men to sail him to the bell. He cut off the rope of the bell and the bell went down with a gurgling sound.

The Ralph moved on and after plundering the Ships, was returning to his land. Suddenly the weather was getting worse. Thick haze covered the sky. A violent storm began to blow. Nothing was visible due to bad weather. But the Ralph was sure that the weather would soon improve. The Sailor wished they could hear the Inchcape Bell. But as it was already cut down, they didn’t hear any sound. At last the ship collided with the Inchacpe rock and drowned along with all his sailors. But even in his dying fear, one thing the Ralph could hear. It’s the sound of the gurgling bell. In fact it was the devil below who was ringing his knell.

ही कथा समुद्री चाच्यांच्या पौराणिक कथेवर आधारित आहे.

कविता वातावरणाचा शांतपणा दाखवत सुरू होते. समुद्राच्या लाटा इंचकेप खडकावर कोणताही आघात न होता वाहत होत्या. एबरब्रोथोकच्या मठाधिपतीने खलाशांना या धोकादायक खडकाबद्दल सावध करण्यासाठी तेथे (इंचकेप खडकावर) एक घंटा ठेवली होती. या घंटेचा फायदा खलाश्यांना होत होता म्हणून ते नेहमी मठाधिपतीचे कौतुक करत असत. जेव्हा समुद्री चाचा (लुटारू) राल्फने घंटा पाहिली तेव्हा त्याला मठाधिपतीच्या लोकप्रियतेचा आणि स्तुतीचा हेवा वाटला. त्यामुळे त्याने ती घंटा कापण्याचा निर्णय घेतला. त्याने आपल्या माणसांना त्या खडकाजवळ बोट नेण्यास सांगितले. जवळ जाऊन त्याने घंटेची दोरी कापली आणि आवाज करत घंटा खाली गेली.

राल्फ पुढे गेला आणि अनेक जहाजे लुटल्यानंतर तो आपल्या भूमीकडे परत यायला निघाला. अचानक हवामान खराब झाले. दाट धुक्याने आभाळ व्यापले होते. जोरदार वादळ वाहू लागले. खराब हवामानामुळे काहीच दिसत नव्हते. पण राल्फला वाटत होते की, हवामान लवकरच सुधारेल. खलाशांना भास होत होता की त्यांना इंचकेप घंटेचा आवाज ऐकू येत आहे. पण ती घंटा आधीच कापली गेली असल्याने त्यांना कोणताही आवाज ऐकू येणे शक्य नव्हते. शेवटी जहाज इंचकेप खडकावर आदळले आणि राल्फ सह सर्व खलाशी बुडाले. पण राल्फला मृत्यूच्या भीतीतही एक गोष्ट ऐकू येत होती. तो गुरगुरणाऱ्या घंटेचा आवाज होता. खरं तर जणू खाली असलेला सैतानच त्याची मृत्यू घंटा वाजवत होता.

Message of the poem:

The poem gives us a message that those who do wrong things will meet with due punishment.

Paraphrase of the poem- The Inchcape Rock

Paraphrase – stanza 01 to 04

The atmosphere was calm and motionless. There was lack of movement in the air and in the sea. There was no force for the sails (cloth of the mast) from the sky. It made the ship and the base of the ship motionless in the ocean. The sea waves were flowing without any jolt and had a little rise and fall over the Inchcape rock that they hardly moved the Inchcape bell. Abbot of Aberbrothok had installed the bell on a floater at the Inchcape Rock in such a way that it floated and swayed on the waves during storms and warned the mariners. The mariners admired the Abbot of Aberbrothok because in the high waves they would know the hazardous rock by the warning sound of the bell which saved their lives.

Paraphrase – stanza 05 to 08

The sun was shining happily in the sky. All creatures on the earth were very happy on that day. Sea-birds seemed very joyful while chirping and encircling in the sky. In the widespread green ocean, the floater of the Inchcape Bell was looking like a dark spot. When Sir Ralph the Rover boarded on the ship, he gazed at that dark floater. He felt encouraging by the spring which made him whistle and sing. Even though his heart was filled up with joy, there was malice in his joy. When he saw the Inchcape floater, he ordered his men to leave the port escort him to the Inchcape Rock where he wished to trouble the Abbot of Aberbrothok.

Paraphrase – stanza 09 to 12

The boatmen lower the boat and sail to the Inchcape Rock. When they reach there, Sir Ralph bent down from the boat and cut the rope of the Bell from the Inchcape floater. The Bell sank down in the deep water with a gushing sound and bubbles rose up and burst around. Then Sir Ralph said that the next who would come to the rock would not praise the Abbot of Aberbrothok. Sir Ralph the Rover sailed away in search of ships for many days and looted valuables on them and became rich.  Thereafter, he drove to Scotland’s shore. A thick fog spreads everywhere in the sky so hardly they can see sun on high. The wind has flowed very heavily all day and stopped at evening.

Paraphrase – (Stanza 13 to 17)

Sir Ralph the Rover stands on the deck very confidently. It was so dark that no one was able to see any land nearby. Then, Sir Ralph said that there would soon be some light as the moon was about to rise. One of them asked if they could hear the sound of the waves because he thought that they should be near the coast. He added that he could not tell them where they were and hoped that he could hear the Inchcape Bell. The surge of waves is very high and they cannot hear any sound. Even though the wind has been very slow, they move forward towards till their ship crashes with a shaking jolt. Then one of them pleads Lord Christ and exclaims that it is the Inchcape Rock. Sir Ralph the Rover was totally frustrated and cursed himself in disappointment. The waves entered everywhere very fast and the ship starts to go down underneath the waters. While he was dying in the fear, the Rover could hear a horrible sound. The sound was the same like the Inchcape Bell when it was sinking down. It is as if the sound of the evil ringing a death toll for him. One who digs a ditch for others, fall in that very ditch someday.

Activity Sheet No. 1

Q. Read the extract and complete the activities given below. (10)

No stir in the air, no stir in the sea,
The Ship was still as she could be;
Her sails from heaven received no motion,
Her keel was steady in the ocean.  

Without either sign or sound of their shock,
The waves flow’d over the Inchcape Rock;
So little they rose, so little they fell,
They did not move the Inchcape Bell.  

The worthy Abbot of Aberbrothok
Had placed that bell on the Inchcape Rock;
On a buoy in the storm, it floated and swung,
And over the waves its warning rung.  

When the Rock was hid by the surge’s swell,
The Mariners heard the warning Bell;
And then they knew the perilous Rock,
And blest the Abbot of Aberbrothok

A1. Web    (2)

Complete the web giving the expression of calmness.

A2. Give reason (2)

Abbot of Aberbrothok was called worthy.

A3. Personal response (2)

List the risks of journey by sea.

A4. Poetic device (2)

Write two examples of the figure of speech – ‘repetition’ from the extract.

A5. Poetic creativity (2)

Add your two poetic lines to rhyme with the first two lines.

So little they rose, so little they fell,

They did not move the Inchcape Bell.



See answers in the following book-

Activity Workbook for Std. XII English by Prof. Tushar Chavan

Price Rs. 350 + Courier / Postage Rs. 50

Total Rs. 400

Send money by Google Pay or Phone Pay to-

9850737199 (Prof. Tushar Chavan)

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