Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The Inchcape Rock  -  1820
Robert Southey
17 stanzas, 68 lines
genre  - poetry
my rating  -  4 out of 5 stars

Inchcape (or the Bell Rock) is a notorious reef off the east coast of Scotland, near Dundee and Fife.  According to legend, the rock is called Bell Rock because of a 14th century attempt by the abbot from Arbroath ("Aberbrothock") to install a warning bell on it. 

"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."

Who knows how long Sir Ralph the Rover's ship has been becalmed there off the coast of Scotland.  Long enough for him to think of some mischief to perform.  If 'no good deed goes unpunished', just imagine what a naughty deed will do.

Considering this poem was written almost 200 hundred years ago, it is remarkably easy to read.

About the author  -

Robert Southey was born 12 August 1774 in Bristol, England, to Robert Southey and Margaret Hill and educated at Westminster School, London.  After experimenting with a writing partnership with Samuel Taylor Coleridge, he published his first collection of poems in 1794.

Southey married Edith Fricker on 14 November 1795. She was the sister of Coleridge's wife, Sara Fricker. The Southeys set up home at Greta Hall, in the Lake District, living on a tiny income. Also living at Greta Hall with Southey and supported by him were Sara Coleridge and her three children following their abandonment by Coleridge and the widow of fellow poet Robert Lovell and her son.

From 1809, Southey contributed to the Quarterly Review, and had become so well known by 1813 that he was appointed Poet Laureate after Walter Scott refused the post.

In 1838, Edith died and Southey married Caroline Anne Bowles, also a poet, on June 4, 1839.  He died on 23 March 1843 and is buried in the churchyard of Crosthwaite Church, Keswick.

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