Robert Southey’s The Inchcape Rock is based on the legendary story of a reef off the east coast of Scotland.
The Inchcape Rock is written in the form of a ballad interwoven with a number of poetical devices to convey a moral lesson- ‘As you sow, so shall you reap.’
A ballad is a long, narrative poem that tells a story. The Inchcape Rock tells the story of a wicked pirate who cuts off the bell on the Inchcape Rock, which was put there by an abbot. He did so out of selfish motive and envy. In the end his own ship crashes against the Rock and is drowned in the sea. The moral of the poem goes like this that ‘he who digs a pit for others, falls into it.’ Thus the ballad has adventure, heroism, jealousy and a moral.