Page images

The Sixth no sooner had begun

About the beast to grope,
Than, seizing on the swinging tail

That fell within his scope,
"I see," quoth he, "the Elephant

Is very like a rope !"


And so these men of Indostan

Disputed loud and long,
Each in his own opinion

Exceeding stiff and strong,
Though each was partly in the right,

And all were in the wrong!


Notes and Questions


Read the line that tells you these

were of an inquiring disposition. How could blind men "see” the

Is comparison a common way of

describing objects Point out instances of its use by

elephant? To what did each compare the

elephant! Account for the comparison each


other authors in this book. Why were these blind men all “in

the wrong''? How far was each“ in the right”!? What may we learn from this


Words and Phrases for Study


bawl (bôl)

won’-der (wŭn)
chanced (chånst)



ré-sěm'-ble (re-zěm'-b'l)—to be like or similar to. o-pỉn'-ion (yun)—what one thinks or believes about something. scope-range or extent of view or action.

"satisfy his mind”
"eagei band's

"fell within his scope"

Exceeding stiff and strong"




Robert Southey (1774-1843) was an English poet. For a time he was Poet Laureate of England.


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 flowed over the Inchcape Rock;
So little they rose, so little they fell,
They did not move the Inchcape Bell.


The holy 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 blessed the Abbot of Aberbrothok.

The sun in heaven was shining gay;
All things were joyful on that day;
The sea-birds screamed as they wheeled round,
And there was joyance in their sound.

The buoy of the Inchcape Bell was seen
A darker speck on the ocean green;
Sir Ralph the Rover walked his deck,
And he fixed 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 priest of Aberbrothok.”

The boat is lowered, 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.

10 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 sailed away,
He scoured the seas for many a day;
And now grown rich with plundered store,
He steers his course for Scotland's shore.

So thick a haze o’erspreads the sky,
They can not 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 brighter 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 can not tell,
But I wish I 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:
“O Christ! it is the Inchcape Rock !"


Historical: Bell Rock, or Inchcape, is a reef of red sandstone rocks near the Frith of Tay, on the coast of Scotland. At the time of the spring tides part of the reef is uncovered to the height of four feet. Because so many vessels were wrecked upon these rocks, the Abbot of Aberbrothok is said to have placed a bell there, “fixed upon a tree or timber, which rang continually, being moved by the

A lighthouse, 115 feet high, one of the finest in Great Britain, is now built upon the reef.


cape Rock

[ocr errors]

Notes and Questions What picture do you see when to his sailors for wanting to cut you read the first stanza? The the warning bell from the Inch

second stanza What “warning" did the bell Where did he go after doing give to sailors !

this? Read the line which tells how What words tell you that he was

sailors felt toward the Abbot. away a long time? Read lines which tell how happy

What two words in the poem tell all things were on the day on you that Sir Ralph was which the story begins.

robber What effect did the air of spring

What do we call men who do have upon Sir Ralph?

this? What was the only kind of mirth Whom did he rob which he knew

To what coast did Sir Ralph at Read what James Russell Lowell last return thinks is the effect spring should Why could not the sailors see the have upon people:


What did they long to hear o 'Tis as easy now for the heart

Do you think the vessel would to be true As for grass to be green or

have been safe if Sir Ralph had skies to be blue,

not sunk the bell? 'Tis the natural way of liv- What do you think happened ing.'

after the vessel struck the What reason did Sir Ralph give Inchcape Rock?

Words and Phrases for Study PRONUNCIATION: măr'-i-nērs quoth

buoy (boi or boo'-i) VOCABULARY:

warn'-ing-caution against danger or against faults. mirth’-ful (mûrth)-full of merriment or gayety. hāze-mist; fog.

[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]
« PreviousContinue »