The Inchcape Rock

By Robert Southey


  1. Inchcape rock = dangerous reef of the east coast of Scotland
  2. No stir = no movement
  3. still = motionless
  4. keel = lowest part of the ship
  5. Abbot = Head monk in a monastery
  6. buoy = anchored float
  7. surge = up and down and to and fro movement of the waves
  8. swell = rise;
  9. mariners = sailors
  10. perilous = dangerous
  11. blest = blessed
  12. gay = happily
  13. screamed = shouted with Joy
  14. wheeled round = flew in a circular motion
  15. speck = small spot
  16. Rover = a sea pirate
  17. deck = wooden platform floor in a ship
  18. mirthful = Joyful
  19. to excess = greatly
  20. quoth = said
  21. plague = cause trouble
  22. gurgling = bubbling
  23. scour’d = moved
  24. steers = directs
  25. haze = thin mist
  26. gale = storm
  27. methinks = I think
  28. drift = move slowly
  29. vessel = ship
  30. tore = pulled hard
  31. knell = sound of funeral bell

Substance of the Poem:

The sea was calm and the ship sailed peacefully. The waves moved gently and there was no impact on the Inchcape rock. It was the good old abbot of Aberbrothok who had placed the bell on the rock. Whenever there was a storm, the surging waves rang the bell as a warning to the sailors. They blessed the abbot whenever they heard the warning,

Ralph the Rover resented the fame of the abbot. He had a wicked plan. He felt happy thinking about the plot. He asked his sailors to take him to the rock in a boat. He bent over from the boat and cut off the bell. Immediately the bell sank with a gurgling sound. Ralph was happy that no one would thank the abbot.

Ralph sailed away and rowed in the sea for many days. He grew rich by looting the wealth from many other ships. He directed (he ship towards the shore of Scotland. A thick mini spread and the sailors could not see the sun, Strong winds blew the whole day and by evening the storm cleared.

A sailor said he could hear the roaring waves. Another replied he could not make out their location and wished he could hear the Inchcape bell. To their utter shock the ship struck the rock. Sir Ralph cursed himself tore his hair in frustration. The waves engulfed the ship and the ship began to sink in the high tide. The rover could hear his death knell Instead of the Inchcape bell.

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