The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

As I Came By A Grene Forest Syde

A Caroll of Huntynge

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: Edwald Flügen and Gustav Schirmer, eds., Anglia. Vol. XII. Band. (Halle: Max Niemeyer, 1889), p. 587.

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*

Underneth 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. &c.
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 horne and blewe him a blast
With tro / ro / ro / ro: tro / ro / ro / ro.
With they go bet / hey go bet. &c.
There he gothe / there he goth. &c.
We shall haue sport and game ynowe.



* In another early printing of this carol, the following line is added to these two stanzas:

"We shall haue sporte and game ynowe."


This is the companion song to The bores heed in hande bring I also printed by Wynkyn de Worde in this pamphlet, of which only these two carols survived.

Copies of this carol on this web site include:

This carol is considered to be a variant of an older carol, which was also printed by Flügen, James A. Froude,  and others. It's burden is:

As I walked by a forest side
I met with a forester; he bade me abide

The first verse is:

At a place where he me set —
He bade me what time an hart I met 
That I should let slip and say go bett; 
With Hay go bett, Hay go bett, Hay go bett, 
Now we shall have game and sport enow.

One version is printed in The Boris Hed In Hondis I Brynge-Hill. The earliest version I've found is from Richard Hill's Commonplace Book from the early 16th century. See Balliol College MS 354, p. 477. Additional research is continuing. Please check back.

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