In the poem, the pirate captain, Sir Ralph the Rover, maliciously destroyed the bell mounted on a buoy by the Abbot of Aberbrothok.
The boat is lower’d, 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.
The bell rang to warn sailors and marked the location of the Inchcape rock, that was hidden by the high tide and which could wreck the ships.
When the Rock was hid by the surge’s swell,
The Mariners heard the warning Bell;
And then they knew the perilous Rock,
And blest the Abbot of Aberbrothok
After the destruction, the captain pirate continued with his voyage, but on his return, he was unable to locate the Inchcape rock. His ship was wrecked after they crashed on the rock. The pirate, because of his previous malicious destruction of the bell, not only lost the bounty acquired during his voyage but he also died after the ship sank.
Sir Ralph the Rover tore his hair,
He curst himself in his despair;
The waves rush in on every side,
The ship is sinking beneath the tide.
The moral of the poem, clearly showed that evil does not go unpunished, as shown when Sir Rover died after his ship was wrecked by the Inchcape Rock. The pirate destroyed the only marker that would have signaled the impending danger, not only for him but for other sailors who went on the same route. He paid for this evil act with his own life.