The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

As I Walked By A Fforest Side

Words and Music: Middle English Carol prior to the 16th Century
From Richard Hill's Common-place Book, Manuscript 354,
folio. 178, pp. 374-375.
See: As I Walked By A Forest Side - Froude
Compare:  As I Came By A Grene Forest Syde

Source: Ewald Flügel, “Liedersammlungen des XVI. Jahrhunderts, besonders aus der zeit Heinrichs VIII. III; 6. Die lieder des Balliol Ms. 354,” p. 194, in Anglia. Zeitschrift Für Englishche Philologie, Vol. 26 (Halle: Max Niemeyer, 1903).

Carol XXXIX.

As I walked by a fforest side
I met with a foster he bad me abide. [178a]

1] At a place wher he me sett,
He bad me what tyme an hart I met,
that I shuld let slyppe & say: go bette!
with hay go bet | hay go bett || hay go bett how ||
we shall haue game & sport ynow.

2] I had not stond ther but a while,
ye, not ye mountenaunce of a myle,
but a gret hart cam rennyng with owt any gile,
with yer he goth, yer he goth, yer he gothe, how!
we shall haue game & sport ynow!

3] I had no sonner my howndes lat goo,
but the hart was over throwe.
than eueryman began to blowe:
with trororo [ trororo ! trororo, trow!
we shall haue game & sport ynow!



The word “explicit” occurs in the text both immediately before and immediately after the carol. The character "|" operates as a full stop, like a period.

Following this carol is the version from Wynkyn de Worde's Christmasse Carolles (1521) (Douce Frag. 94b der Bodleian Library), previously printed by Flügel in Anglia 12 (1889), p. 587 (see right)anglia-12-587.jpg (85312 bytes), and Neuenglisches Lesebuch 1, p. 151:


1] As I came by a grene forest syde,
I met with a forster yat badde me abyde.
with hey go bet / hey go bet / hey go howe!

2] Underneath a tre I dyde me set,
And with a grete hert anone I met,
I badde, let slyppe / and sayd: hey go bet!
with hey go bet / hey go bet howe!

3] I had not stände there but a whyle,
For the mountenaunce of a myle,
There came a grete herte wit[h]owt gyle,
There he gothe / there he gothe [hey go howe] !
We shall haue sporte and game ynowe!

4] Talbot my hounde with a mery taste,
All about the grene wode he gan cast,
I toke my hōrne and blew him a blast
With tro / ro / ro / ro : tro / ro / ro / ro !
With hey go bet / hey go bet [hey go howe] !
There he gothe j there he goth [hey go howe]!
We shall haue sport and game ynowe!


Flügel also printed the text of “A Carol Bringyng In The Bores Heed,” The bores heed in hande bring I, from Wynkyn de Worde. See generally Notes On The Boar's Head Carols.

The manuscript previously known as “Douce Fragment 94b” is now referred to as “Rawlinson 4to. 598(10).”

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