The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

As I Walked By A Fforest Side

For Chrismas

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: Frederick Morgan Padelford, ed., Early Sixteenth Century Lyrics. (Boston and London: D.C. Heath & Co., 1907), pp. 75-76, 138-139.

At I walked by a fforest side
I met with a foster he bad me a bide.
At a place wher he me sett,
he bad me, what tyme an hart I met,
that I shuld let slyppe, and say: 'Go bett!'
' With hay go bet, hay go bett, hay go bett how !
We shall haue game & sport ynow!

I had not stond ther but a while,
ye, not ye montenance 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!'

I had no sonner my howndis lat goo
but the hart was over throwe.
Than euery man began to blowe,
with, 'Trororo, trororo, trororo, trow!'
We shall haue game & sport ynow!


Citing Ms. Balliol 354 (f. 177b.; cf. Anglia 26. 194), Professor Padelford writes The selections have all been taken from the manuscripts or from the earliest editions. Dr. Padelford was Professor of The English Language And Literature, University of Washington (not Washington State University, as elsewhere reported). This carol is found in the Note to Wynkyn de Worde's version, #LVI, As I Came By A Grene Forest Syde, which occurs at pp. 75-6. Professor Padelford writes:

This hunting-song may have been sung at some one of the elaborate revels that distinguished the earlier years of Henry's reign. From internal evidence it seems probable that a similar song in Add. Ms. 31922 (f. 65b.; cf. transcript in Anglia 12. 144) was sung at the revels held at Christmas, 1514. (Compare the song and Let. and Pap. I. 718, 4642.) For other 'foster' songs, cf. Add. Ms. 31922, 69b (Anglia 12. 245, Neuenglisches Lesebuch, 151), Add. Ms. 5665, f. 53b (Neuenglisches Lesebuch. 151), Royal Ms. App. 58, f. 5b (Anglia 12. 262, Neuenglisches Lesebuch. 152).

Note: Both of Wynkyn de Worde's songs were also reprinted by Flgel in Anglia, Vol. 12, p. 587 (below).anglia-12-587.jpg (85312 bytes)

At p. 75 is the version given by Wynkyn de Worde, 1521:

Carol #LVI

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!

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!

I had not stande there but a whyle,
for the mountenaunce of a myle
there came a grete herte, without gyle.
There he gothe, there he gothe! [Hey go howe!]
We shall haue sporte and game ynowe!

Talbot, my hounde, with a mery taste
all about the grene wode he gan cast.
I toke my home and blew him a blast,
with ' Tro, ro, ro, ro; tro, ro, ro, ro!'
With hey go bet, hey go bet, howe!
There he gothe, there he goth! [Hey go howe!]
We shall haue sport and game ynowe.

Professor Padelford gives the following attribution: Wynkyn de Worde's Christmasse carolles, Bodl. Douce Fragm. 94b.; Ang. 12. ; emend. aft. Prof. Flgel. Entitled A caroll of huntynge, and foll. by Finis.

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