The Inchcape Rock – Part II

Robert Southey was a true great.
I love his morality poem “The Inchsape Rock” so much I felt I had to compose a sequel, so I did yesterday.
In his day there were violent robbers and in his story, Sir Ralph the Rover, ends in Hell for his crimes.
The big time thieves of our day use fraud. They rob in a semi legal way through the books. Pension funds and personal savings are plundered so Wall Street and City of London gangsters can prosper. They steal from the have nots so they can have yachts.
May the knell of the Inchcape bell welcome them to hell!

The Inchcape Rock – Part II

As Ralph the Rover arrived in hell
Tolled in down there by Inchcape’s Bell,
The fiery lake that his soul bore
Spewed him up on a brimstone shore.

How Ralph the Rover cursed his lot,
Both scalding lake and shore were hot
And all those demons dwelling there,
Gave his soul such great pains to bear.

His wreck companions rang for him
That same bell as a requiem.
They’ll keep it up for evermore
As he burns on that Brimstone shore.

One day the Abbot came to hell
What his sins were none there could tell.
Old Nick alone seemed full of glee;
Just like when sailors drown at sea.

The Rover and the Abbot then
Were burning in that demons’ den.
The Bell would ring there all the while
And make Ralph rage and Abbot smile.

“Why Abbot are you in this place?
What could have caused you this disgrace?”
Ralph asked above the Bell’s loud din,
“What could have been your secret sin?”

“Ah, during all my live long days,
I envied many their reckless ways.
My mind oft wandered as I prayed
And to naughty thoughts it strayed.

I thought me many a hearty thought
Of shameless deeds, but, I did nought.
Nought, that is save now and then,
I’d thought unseemly thoughts again

I did no harm, but to be blunt
My piety was but a front.
Oh, yes, I did all those good deeds,
But cared not much for other’s needs.

All my life I put on a show”;
He paused a while then in his woe
As demons screeching fearful ire,
Drenched him once more with flames of fire.

“Now that I’m dead some may reveal
That I’d been slippery like some eel.
I’d altered many a title deed,
I felt we had a greater need.

In my smug way I felt secure,
To feel aloof has its allure.
That Bell that saved ships on their way
I put there as my vain display

I sought to be seen good and true,
But of my frauds, well no one knew.
So, some wailing widows felt aggrieved,
I knew that they’d not be believed!

My Abbey had a greater need,
Why I had my monks and folk to feed.
What if I made some rich folk poor;
I still might feed them at my door!”

Ralph failed to hear the last word said
As he was bathed in molten lead.
But, although that word he’d missed,
His lively mind had got the gist.

“Oh, Abbot we were brothers never
Now we are partners here for ever.
I stole and I gave out much grief
But with your quill you were the thief.”

Those two their agonies they bore,
There upon that brimstone shore.
And demons torture them always
With pain until the end of days.

For frauds are just a sort of thief,
Like plunderers they cause much grief.
The Rover all folk knew was bad
But fraudsters make us really mad.

You may oft hear a howl and wail
And think it but some storm or gale
Up there beside the Inchcape shore;
But that may well portend much more.

Deep there in some dismal hell
Tormented souls forever dwell.
For sneak and thief and dirty liar
Deserve to burn there in Hell’s fire.

Lives that are lived low and aloof
Will be adjudged by open proof
Then it’s too late then to repent;
For sinful souls will be Hell sent!

© Trevor Morgan, 10/5/2018

Dedication to Robert Southey (1774AD 1843AD) a Bristolian, as am I.


Southey was fond of playing with his children and amusing his children.
This was unusual for men in his time.
So , below I attach his lovely morality poem. His children must have loved him reciting this. Good on you Robert.

The Inchcape Rock

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 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

The Sun in the heaven was shining gay,
All things were joyful on that day;
The sea-birds scream’d as they wheel’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 walk’d his deck,
And fix’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 Rover’s mirth was wickedness.

His eye was on the Inchcape Float;
Quoth he, “My men, put out the boat,
And row me to the Inchcape Rock,
And I’ll plague the Abbot of Aberbrothok.”

The boat is lower’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, “The next who comes to the Rock,
Won’t bless the Abbot of Aberbrothok.”

Sir ralph the Rover sail’d away,
He scour’d the seas for many a day;
And now grown rich with plunder’d store,
He steers his course for Scotland’s shore.

So thick a haze o’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, “It will be lighter soon,
For there is the dawn of the rising Moon.”

“Canst hear,” said one, “the breakers roar?
For methinks we should be near the shore.”
“Now, where we are I cannot tell,
But I wish we could hear the Inchcape Bell.”

They hear no sound, the swell is strong,
Though the wind hath fallen they drift along;
Till the vessel strikes with a shivering shock,
“Oh Christ! It is the Inchcape Rock!”

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.

Robert Southey 1796AD