The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

As I Walked By A Forest 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: Roman Dyboski, ed., Songs, Carols, and Other Miscellaneous Poems. From the Balliol MS. 354, Richard Hill's Commonplace-Book. (London: Published for the Early English Text Society by Kegan Paul, Trench, Trübner & Co., Limited, 1907) (issued in 1908), pp. 103-104. Early English Text Society, Extra Series, No. CI. The manuscript is held in the Balliol College Library, Oxford.

87. How ! we shall have game & sport ynow !


As I walked by a forest side,
I met with a foster ; he bad me a-bid.
At a place wher he me sett, [leaf 178]
He bad me, what tyme an hart I met,
That I shuld let slyppe & 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 že montenance of a myle,
But a gret hart cam rennyng, withowt any gile ;
With " žer he goth, žer he goth, žer 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,"
How ! we shall haue game & sport ynow.


In his Glossary, p. 196, Dyboski gives this definition:

montenance (for montance, "appar. simulating the form of maintenance"), amount, space, extent (used of time).

Thus, 'not the montenance of a myle' is understood to be 'not the time it takes to go a mile.' See Chambers & Sidgwick, Early English Lyrics (1907), the note on p. 370 to Carol CXXVI, 'Lord, how shall I me complain.'

In Dyboski's Notes, p. 186, he also prints Wynkyn de Worde's text of 1521 as reprinted from the Douce Fragment 94b, Bodlein, in Anglia Vol. 12 (1889), p. 587 by Ew. Flügel (right).anglia-12-587.jpg (85312 bytes), and also in Flügel's Neuenglisches Lesebuch (Halle, 1895), p. 151.

A caroll of huntynge.

As I came by a grene forest syde
I met with a forster y' badde me abyde
wt 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 houde with a mery taste
All about the grene wode he gan cast
I toke my horne 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.


(Aus Wynkyn de Worde's Christmassu carolles 1521, Douce Fragm. 94B; Bodl. Lib. Oxford.)


Flügel prints this together with several other Forester carols. On pages 123-124, he also prints the Boar's Head Carols from Hill and de Worde. This volume contains a remarkable collection of English carols; those devoted to Weilhachtslieder (Winter Night Songs) are found on pp. 121-150. The full title of the volume is Neuenglisches Lesebuch. Zur Einführung In Das Studium Der Denkmäler Selbst Nach Den Handschriften Und Ältesten Drucken Herausgegeben Von Ewald Flügel (Halle: Max Niemeyer, 1895). A PDF of the scanned volume is available at Google Books, Neuenglisches Lesebuch-Google, and at the Internet Archive, Neuenglisches Lesebuch-IA.

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