Maybe; but none the less I am sure it was he.
Have you seen him?
Oh, no, no; but I must tell you—
Yes, haste you—tell on!
’Twas early morn, and the church bells rang,
To Mass I was fain to ride;
The birds in the willows twittered and sang,
In the birch-groves far and wide.
All earth was glad in the clear, sweet day;
And from church it had well-nigh stayed me;
For still, as I rode down the shady way,
Each rosebud beguiled and delayed me.
Silently into the church I stole;
The priest at the altar was bending;
He chanted and read, and with awe in their soul,
The folk to God’s word were attending.
Then a voice rang out o’er the fiord so blue;
And the carven angels, the whole church through,
Turned round, methought, to listen thereto.
O Signe, say on! Tell me all, tell me all!
’Twas as though a strange, irresistible call
Summoned me forth from the worshipping flock,
Over hill and dale, over mead and rock.
’Mid the silver birches I listening trod,
Moving as though in a dream;
Behind me stood empty the house of God;
Priest and people were lured by the magic ’twould seem,
Of the tones that still through the air did stream.
No sound they made; they were quiet as death;
To hearken the song-birds held their breath,
The lark dropped earthward, the cuckoo was still,
As the voice re-echoed from hill to hill.
They crossed themselves, women and men;
[Pressing her hands to her breast.
But strange thoughts arose within me then;
For the heavenly song familiar grew:
Gudmund oft sang it to me and you—
Ofttimes has Gudmund carolled it,
And all he e’er sang in my heart is writ.
And you think that it may be—?
I know it is he! I know it? I know it!
You soon shall see!
From far-off lands, at the last, in the end,
Each song-bird homeward his flight doth bend!
I am so happy—though why I scarce know—!
Margit, what say you? I’ll quickly go
And take down his harp, that has hung so long
In there on the wall that ’tis rusted quite;
Its golden strings I will polish bright,
And tune them to ring and to sing with his song.