In the original French it was an old 19th-century Breton song about sailing to South America.
The shanty which Haddock sings in orbit in French is Et Nous Irons à Valparaiso!
(And We Will Go To Valparaiso!
), which is interesting for its mix of English and French vocabulary in its construction (e.g. "Haul away, hé! Oula tchalez!"), so that the Captain actually speaks some English in the French edition of the story.
The song is arranged to so that a lead sings a line, and the next line is sung by a chorus, as found in many shanties and work-songs.
However, it's only just now that I've realized that Haddock appears
to mangle the lyrics.
The Captain sings: "Et nous irons à Valparaiso/ Good-bye, farewell..."
Checking on-line sources, the concensus appears to be the line, from the second verse, should be, "Et nous irons à Valparaiso/ Où d'autres laisseront leurs os...".
He then sings,"A faire la pêche cachalot", which is actually a line from the previous verse.
So, to paraphrase the famous Morecambe & Wise sketch, he's singing all the right words, but not necessarily in the right order...
I place the caveat appears
before the above, as traditional songs often exist in many different versions; however, I think
that we can take it as an indication that the Captain is being shown to be very drunk, and the muddled rendition is for comic effect!Update!
Back to sea-shanty school for me!
I realised last night that I was guilty of a bit of mangling too - and the fact was there for me to see all along...! That's what comes of trying to do too many things at once!
Anyway, as I said, this is a call-and-response song, and in looking at lyrics on the net I should
have twigged that some text make the assumption that the reader will know that the lines of chorus repeat for every verse, and miss them out, giving only the new lines that the leader sings.
So, the line, "Et nous irons à Valparaiso!" wouldn't
be followed by "Où d'autres laisseront leurs os", as both these lines are sung by the lead, and there should be a line of chorus sung in between.However
, the Captain still seems to be getting it wrong, as the whole second verse should run as follows:
Leader: Plus d'un y laissera sa peauChorus: Good bye farewell, good bye farewell
Leader: Adieu misère, adieu bateau!Chorus: Hourra ! oh! Mexico!Leader: Et nous irons à Valparaiso!
Chorus: Haul away, hé! Oula tchalez
Leader: Où d'autres laisseront leurs osChorus: Hal' matelot, hé! ho! hisse hé! ho!
So the Captain is still wrong, just in a different way to how I first thought, which is wrong too!
The "cachalot" line is still from the first verse, which if you are interested is as follows:
Leader: Hardi! les gars, vire au guindeauChorus: Good bye farewell, good bye farewell
Leader: Hardi! les gars, adieu Bordeaux!Chorus: Hourra ! oh! Mexico!
Leader: Au cap Horn il ne fera pas chaudChorus: Haul away, hé! Oula tchalez
Leader: A faire la pêche au cachalotChorus: Hal' matelot, hé! ho! hisse hé! ho!
So apologies if you have been trying to sing along at home!