TAMH: Source Material
The construction of the Bell Rock Lighthouse - 1| 2

The legend is commemorated in Southey's ballad of Sir Ralph the Rover.

No stir in the air no swell on the sea

The ship was still as she could be;

Her sails from heaven received no motion,

Her keel was steady in the ocean

With neither sign nor sound of shock.

The waves flowed o'er the Inchcape Rock;

So little they rose, so little they fell.

They did not move the Inchcape Bell.

The pious Abbot of Aberbrothock

Had placed that bell on Inchcape Rock;

On the waves of the storm it floated and swung

And louder and louder it swarning rung

When the rock was hid by the tempest swell,

The mariners heard the warning bell;

And then they knew the perilous rock,

and blessed the Abbot of Aberbrothock

On a calm and sunny day, Ralph resolves to 'plague

the priest of Aberbrothock' rowing a boat from his ship

to the rock:

Sir Ralph leaned over from the boat,

And cut the bell from off the float.

Down sank the bell with a gurgling sound,

The bubbles rose and burst around;

Quoth he, 'Who next comes to the rock

Won't bless the Abbot of Aberbrothock'

However, after a day's plundering, Ralph returns towards Arbroath where, after a gale has been blowing, he strains to see the land:

Canst hear, said one, the breakers roar?

For yonder methinks should be the shore.

Now where we are I cannot tell -

I wish we heard the Inchcape Bell !

They hear no sound - the swell is strong;

Though the wind has fallen they drift along,

Till the vessel strikes with a shivering shock -

O Heaven ! it is the Inchcape Rock !

Sir Ralph the Rover tore his hair

And cursed himself in his despair.

The waves rush in on every side;

The ship sinks fast beneath the tide !

Down, down they sink in watery graves,

The masts are hid beneath the waves !

Sir Ralph, while waters rush around,

Hears still and awful, dismal sound, -

For even in his dying fear

That dreadful sound assails his ear,

As if below, with the Inchcape Bell,

the devil rang his funeral knell.