Inchcape Rock by Robert Southey
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 flowâ€™d over the Inchcape Rock;
So little they rose, so little they fell,
They did not move the Inchcape Bell.
The 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 surgeâ€™s swell,
The Mariners heard the warning Bell;
And then they knew the perilous Rock,
And blest the Abbot of Aberbrothok
The Sun in the heaven was shining gay,
All things were joyful on that day;
The sea-birds screamâ€™d as they wheelâ€™d round,
And there was joyaunce in their sound.
The buoy of the Inchcpe Bell was seen
A darker speck on the ocean green;
Sir Ralph the Rover walkâ€™d his deck,
And fixâ€™d his eye on the darker speck.
He felt the cheering power of spring,
It made him whistle, it made him sing;
His heart was mirthful to excess,
But the Roverâ€™s mirth was wickedness.
His eye was on the Inchcape Float;
Quoth he, â€œMy men, put out the boat,
And row me to the Inchcape Rock,
And Iâ€™ll plague the Abbot of Aberbrothok.â€
The boat is lowerâ€™d, the boatmen row,
And to the Inchcape Rock they go;
Sir Ralph bent over from the boat,
And he cut the bell from the Inchcape Float.
Down sank the Bell with a gurgling sound,
The bubbles rose and burst around;
Quoth Sir Ralph, â€œThe next who comes to the Rock,
Wonâ€™t bless the Abbot of Aberbrothok.â€
Sir ralph the Rover sailâ€™d away,
He scourâ€™d the seas for many a day;
And now grown rich with plunderâ€™d store,
He steers his course for Scotlandâ€™s shore.
So thick a haze oâ€™erspreads the sky,
They cannot see the sun on high;
The wind hath blown a gale all day,
At evening it hath died away.
On the deck the Rover takes his stand,
So dark it is they see no land.
Quoth Sir Ralph, â€œIt will be lighter soon,
For there is the dawn of the rising Moon.â€
â€œCanst hear,â€ said one, â€œthe breakers roar?
For methinks we should be near the shore.â€
â€œNow, where we are I cannot tell,
But I wish we could hear the Inchcape Bell.â€
They hear no sound, the swell is strong,
Though the wind hath fallen they drift along;
Till the vessel strikes with a shivering shock,
â€œOh Christ! It is the Inchcape Rock!â€
Sir Ralph the Rover tore his hair,
He curst himself in his despair;
The waves rush in on every side,
The ship is sinking beneath the tide.
But even is his dying fear,
One dreadful sound could the Rover hear;
A sound as if with the Inchcape Bell,
The Devil below was ringing his knell.