The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

A Carol of Hunting

For Christmas

Words and Music: English Traditional
from Wynkyn de Worde, Christmasse Carolles Newly Enprinted (London in the fletestrete at the sygne of the sonne, 1521)

Source: Edith Rickert, Ancient English Christmas Carols: 1400-1700 (London: Chatto & Windus, 1914), p. 139.

As I came by a green forest-side
I met with a forester that bade me abide,
With "Hey go bet,1 hey go bet, hey go howe!"

Underneath a tree I did me set,
And with a great hart anon I met.
I bad let slip, and said, "Hey go bet!"
With "Hey go bet, hey go bet, howe!"

I had not stood there but a while,
For the maintenance of a mile,
There came a great hart, without guile:
"There he goeth, there he goeth, hey go howe!
We shall have game and sport ynow."

Talbot my hound with a merry taste
All about the green wood he gan cast.
I took my horn 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 goeth, there he goeth, hey go howe!
We shall have sport and game ynow!"

Note from Rickert:

1. Better or beat? Hey go bet is a hunting cry. Return

Editor's Note:

Although Dr. Rickert identifies this as one of several "carols not related to Christmas," it is clear that this was a carol that was sung during the Christmas-tide in earlier centuries by virtue of the fact that it is included in Wynkyn de Worde's 1521 Christmas Carolles Newly Emprinted.

Versions of this carol on this web site include:

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