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: Richard Leighton Greene, The Early English Carols. (Oxford: At the Clarendon Press, 1935), Carol #424A (Balliol College, MS 354, f. 176 v., from Richard Hill), pp. 287-288.

As I walked by a forest side,
I met w
ith a foster; he bad me abide.

[1]

At a place wher he me sett [f. 178 r.]
He bad me, what tyme an hart I met,
That I shuld lett slyppe
and say, 'Go bett!'

With 'Hay, go bet! Hay, go bett! Hay, go bett! How!'
We shall haue game
and sport ynow.

[2]

I had not stond ther but a while,
Ye, not the mou
ntenaunce of a myle,
But a gret hart ca
m rennyng withowt any gile;

With 'Ther he goth! Ther he goth! ther he gothe! How!'
We shall haue game
and sport ynow.

[3]

I had no sonner my howndes lat goo
But the hart was overthrow
e;
Than eu
ery man began to blowe;
W
ith 'Tro-ro-ro! Tro-ro-ro! Tro-ro-ro! Trow!'
We shall haue game
and sport ynow.

Note:

Both at the beginning and the end of the carol in Hill's manuscript is the word "Explicit." The meaning is unclear, at least to me.

Greene also reprinted the version from Wynkyn de Worde, "As I came by a grene forest syde," from Christmasse carolles (1521), Carol #424 B (Bodleian Library, Rawlinson 4to, 598 (10)), p. 288.

As I came by a grene forest syde,
I met with a forster that badde me abyde;
With 'Hey, go bet! Hey, go bet! Hey, go [bet!] Howe!'
We shall haue sport and game ynowe.

[1]

Under 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! [Hey go bet!] Howe!'
We shall haue sport and game ynowe.

[2]

I had not stande there but a whyle,
Now the mountenaunce of a myle';
There came a grete hert without gyle:
'There he goth! There he gothe! [There he gothe! How!']
We shall haue sporte and game ynowe.

[3]

Talbot my hounde, with a mery taste,
All about the grene wode he gan cast;
I toke my horse and blew him a blast;
[a] With 'ro-ro-ro-ro! Tro-ro-ro-ro! [Tro-ro-ro-ro! Ro!']
[b] With 'Hey, go bet! Hey, go et! [Hey, go bet! How!']
[c] 'There he gothe! There he goth! [There he goth! Howe!']
We shall haue sport and game ynowe.

Notes from Greene:

Heading in original: A caroll of huntyntge.

Stanza 2, line 4. [There he gothe! How!]] Orig. &c.

Stanza 3, line 4[b]. [Hey, go bet! How!]] Orig. &c.

Stanza 3, line 4[c] [There he goth! How!]] Orig. &c.

The three different texts of stza.3, l. 4 were apparently to be sung simultaneously by three different voices.

At end: Finis.

Note:

Now referred to as “Rawlinson 4to. 598(10)”, this manuscript was previously known as “Douce Fragment 94b.”

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