The Inchcape Rock : ICSE Class 10 Questions and Answers

Question 1 : Read the extract given below and answer the questions that follow.

“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”.

i) Name the poem and the poet. Describe the movement of the waves as presented in the above lines.

Answer : The name of the poem is ‘The Inchcape Rock”. The name of the poet is ‘Robert Southey’. The waves are rising and falling without moving the Inchcape Bell. Infact, the waves are so small that they do not move enough to ring the Inchcape Bell. They are moving calmly without any sense of impending danger.

ii) How does the Inchcape Bell warn the sailors during a storm?

Answer : During a storm, the waves violently hit the Inchcape Rock and the bell that is tied on the rock by the Abbot of Aberbrothok, shakes violently making a loud sound that can be head by the sailors at a far distance. They then become alert that the Inchcape Rockis nearby. Thus, the sailors avoid the way where the bell ring.

iii) Who cut the Bell and why?

Answer : Sir Ralph, a notorious pirate did not want sailors to be alert by the sound of the Inchcape Bell. He wnated to earn money and treasures from the ships that fatally crashed against the rock. He also wanted to tarnish the reputation of the Abbot of Aberbrothok. Hence, he sailed to the Inchcape Rock and cut the famous bell tied there.

iv) Why did ships face shipwreck near the Inchcape Rock?

Answer : The Inchcape Rock, a reef which was situated in the North sea, close to the coastal region of Angus in Scotland was famous for its infamy as causation for shipwrecks. During rough seas, the sailors could not see the Rock. This was the reason why ships faced shipwrecks there.

v) Describe the legend of the Inchcape Bell.

Answer : According to the legend, a monk placed a bell on the Inchcape shore to send warning to sailors about the impending danger during storms. According to the folktale, whenever, the bell rang, the sailors used to thank the Abbot for saving them from danger. But a pirate named Sir Ralph cut down the bell to earn money and treasures from ships that fatally crashed against the rock. However, one day Sir Ralph’s ship too encountered a storm and crashed against the rock and he died repenting.

Question 2 : Read the extract given below and answer the questions that follow.

“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.”

i) Who is Sir Ralph? What are his intentions?

Answer : Sir Ralph was a notorious pirate who spent days looting and plundering other ships for treasures. He wanted to tarnish the reputation of the Abbot of Aberbrothok so he cut down the famous bell tied on the Inchcape Rock. He looted and robbed the ships that crashed against the rock and soon became rich.

ii) What is he doing in the above lines?

Answer : In the above lines, Sir Ralph was sailing in his ship across the seas and plundering and looting the wealth of the sailors on other ships. He deliberately had cut off the Inchcape Bell so that when the ships get ravaged there, he could amass all the wealth. Now he steers his ship towards the Scotland’s shore.

iii) Why did Sir Ralph move towards Scotland?

Answer : Sir Ralph steered his ship towards Scotland’s shore because his downfall was calling him there. Some invisible and supernatural powers working as messenger of God wanted to punish Ralph for his wicked and sinful act, hence they instigated him to come again at the Scotland’s shore.

iv) How had Ralph grown rich and prosperous?
Answer : For a long time, Ralph had been wandering in distant seas. He had been plundering and looting many ships. In this way, he made a great heap of wealth and had grown rich and prosperous.

v) What do you learn from the action of Sir Ralph?

Answer : Sir Ralph’s actions give the moral message that what one sows, so does he reap. The pirate committed an evil deed by cutting down the Inchcape Bell which was a life saver for seamen. He did this for his selfish intentions to hoard wealth. But, ultimately, in his death-hour, he needed the Inchcape Bell to save his ship, but it was not there. We learn that evil deeds never go unpunished. The evil-doer becomes the victim of his own wicked designs. He digs a pit for others but himself falls into it.

Question 3 : Read the extract given below and answer the questions that follow.

“Sir Ralph the Rover tore his hair,

He curst himself in his despair;

The waves rushed in on every side,

The ship is sinking beneath the tide,”

i) What do the above lines say?

Answer : The above lines describe the death hour of Sir Ralph. It says that when Sir Ralph saw that he was stuck in a storm and he could not move out of it because he had removed the Inchcape Bell, he tore his hair and cursed himself for his actions. The waves rushed in around him and his ship started sinking.

ii) Describe Sir Ralph’s feelings towards the Abbot of Aberbrothok.

Answer : Sir Ralph did not like the Aboot’s actions of installing a bell on the Inchcape Rock to save sailors. It was getting in his way of looting wealth from ships. Also, he was jealous of the Abbot’s reputation.

So he decided to remove the bell. Now he was satisfied because he thought that the next man who happened to pass through that way would not survive to bless the Abbot.

iii) Why is the ship sinking?

Answer : The ship was sinking because it has hit the Inchcape Rock and there has been a shipwreck. The waves from all sides engulfed the ship because it had collided and was broken. The Inchcape Bell had been cut down by the pirate who was not suffering the fruit of this own actions.

iv) Explain the line, “He curst himself in despair.”

Answer : The line means that Sir Ralph, the famous pirate, in order to fulfill his wishes had removed the Inchcape Bell which was a life saver for sailors. Now he himself needed the bell during heavy storm and life was in danger. In state of utter helplessness, he tore his hair and cursed himself for committing such a sinful and wicked act of cutting the bell.

v) Describe Sir Ralph’s state of mind right now.

Answer : In the present state, Sir Ralph is full of remorse as to why did he cut down the Inchcape Bell. He is cursing himself in despair and tearing up his hair in frustration but there is nothing that can be done.

His ship is sinking in the high tide and the waves are rushing from all sides. Though the bell is not there but he can hear the noise of the bell in his head banging continuously telling him that he is paying for his own selfish deeds.

Question 4 : Read the extract given below and answer the questions that follow.

“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.”

i) How many speakers are there in the above lines? What are they saying?

Answer : There are two speakers in the above lines. They are sailors of Sir Ralph’s ship or perhaps fellow pirates. The first sailor says that he can hear the roaring of waves and it seems to him that the shore is nearby.

To second sailor wishes that they can hear the sound of the Inchcape Bell, as they are not aware of where they are.

ii) What is the fear lurking in the minds of the speakers and Sir Ralph?

Answer :  The fear lurking in the minds of the two sailors and Sir Ralph is that since they can hear the roaring of the waves, they must be near to the Inchcape Rock. Being near to it means they will face a shipwreck and will ultimately die as a thick layer of mist has covered the sky and the sun is almost invisible.

iii) Why is the Inchcape Bell so important?

Answer : The Inchcape Bell is important because during the time of a high tide it shakes violently making loud sounds that would even reach the sailors at a far distance, giving them warning that they shouldn’t move towards the direction of the Inchcape Rock.

iv) Who had placed the Inchcape Bell on the shore? Why?

Answer : The Abbot of Aberbrothok, a kind hearted and generous man had placed the bell on the Inchcape Rock to prevent ships from getting shipwrecked during storms. The sound of the bell would send a signal warning to them to not sail towards that direction.

v) What is your opinion on the idea of good vs evil?

Answer : Good is always stronger than evil. No matter how much evil a person does, he will always be punished for his actions. While the good person is rewarded, the wicked person is punished for his misdeeds. In the poem, the sailors used to thank and bless the Abbot of Aberbrothok in their hearts for tying the bell on the Inchcape Rock, whereas Sir Ralph meets a deserved death for his wickedness and could hear Devil’s ringing of the bell.

Question 5 : Read the extract given below and answer the questions that follow.

“But even in his dying fear, 

One dreadful sound could the Rover hear,

A sound as if with the Inchcape Bell,

The Devil below as ringing his knell.”

i) What was Sir Ralph’s ‘dying fear’?

Answer : Sir Ralph’s ‘dying fear’ was that he could see himself getting punished for his misdeeds and unconsciously wanted to save himself. But he knew that it was too late and would die in no time.

ii) Explain the line, “The Devil below was ringing his knell.”

Answer : Sir Ralph had cut down the Inchcape Bell and it went down into the sea with a gurgling sound. When his death hour was near, he could hear the sound of the Inchcape Bell as if the Devil himself was ringing if for him. It indicated that the time of Ralph had approached.

iii) What do the above lines say?

Answer :  The above lines say that Sir Ralph, even in his dying fear, could hear the dreadful sound of a ringing bell which resembled the sound of the Inchcape Bell but was actually the death knell, rung by the Devil himself. It seemed as if the Devil was happily inviting the pirate to hell.

iv) Why did Sir Ralph meet such an end?

Answer : Sir Ralph met such an end because of his wicked deeds. He deliberately removed the bell on the Inchcape Rock so that ships faced shipwrecks and he could plunder the treasures. Wrong actions never go unpunished in this world. He was, thus, rightly punished for his immoral and sinful deeds.

v) Do you agree that “evil cannot go unpunished in this world”? Give your opinions on this.

Answer : Yes, evil cannot go unpunished in this world. There’s a divine power which looks upon our actions and delivers justice to all. Sir Ralph, in the poem, engaged in evil deeds and did not consider about other people. He robbed them of wealth, but ultimately he died in a storm in a shipwreck just like he made other sailors suffer in storms. The evil doer initially does not feel the prick of his conscience but in the end he is always miserable.