The king sits in Dumfermline town,
drinking the blud red wine
Oh whar can I find a skeely skipper to sail
this new ship o mine?
oh up and spake an eldern knight
sat at the king's right knee
The lines you quote are from Sir Patrick Spens, go here for the full poem:
Or here with the tune
Ballads can often be traced back to historical events.
"Thomas Percy obtained the poem from two manuscript copies from Scotland. There are eighteen versions, some of them fragments, and some more detailed, and in one group the voyage is to Norway, either to take the Scottish king's daughter there or to bring back the king of Norway's daughter. Owing to the discourtesy of certain Norwegians, Sir Patrick leaves abruptly and is wrecked on the return voyage. A possible historical basis is the marriage of Margaret, daughter of Alexander III of Scotland, to Eric of Norway in 1281, when many of her escort were drowned on their way home, or the death of Margaret's daughter, "the Maid of Norway," while she was being brought back to Scotland in 1290 to succeed her grandfather, who died in 1286. But there is insufficient evidence of the connection of the ballad with any historical events; and Sir Patrick Spens himself has never been identified."
Nevertheless, it is possible that the ballad is a combination of the two voyages which took place almost 800 years ago.
"Beginning with Margaret (Malcolm IIIís queen) in the 11th century, the abbey at Dunfermline had a long association with the monarchy, not least as the burial place of many of Scotlandís kings and queens. Charles I (1625-49) was born in the newly created palace at Dunfermline in 1600. The royal guesthouse was adapted as a palace for Queen Anne of Denmark after it had been granted to her by James VI in 1589. David I (1124-53) was also born at Dunfermline."
"Dunfermline, birthplace of seven kings (including Charles I), an empress, a queen and four princes. It is also the final resting place of nine kings, five queens, six princes and two princesses. Dunfermline ceased to be a Royal Burgh after the death of James I, with Charles II (first to inherit a United Kingdom throne) the last monarch to stay at Dunfermline Palace in 1650, after which the Palace became a ruin."
Can we actually refer to a UK throne until after the Union of 1707?