John Lawson Stoddard Poems >>
Andreas Hofer

In Mantua in fetters
The faithful Hofer lay,
Condemned by hostile soldiers
To die at break of day;
Now bled his comrades' hearts in vain;
All Germany felt shame and pain,
 As did his land, Tyrol.

When through his dungeon grating
In Mantua's fortress grim
He saw his loyal comrades
Stretch out their hands to him,
He cried: "God give to you his aid,
And to the German realm betrayed,
 And to the land Tyrol!"

With step serene and steadfast,
His hands behind him chained,
Went forth the valiant Hofer
To death which he disdained,--
That death, which by his valor foiled
Had oft from Iselberg recoiled,
 In his loved land, Tyrol.

The noisy drum-beat slackened,
And silenced was its roar
When Andreas the dauntless,
Stepped through the prison door;
The "Sandwirt", fettered still, yet free,
Stood on the wall with unbent knee,--
 The hero of Tyrol.

When told to kneel, he answered:
"That will I never do;
I'll die, as I am standing,
Die, as I fought with you;
Here I resist your last advance,
Long live my well-loved Kaiser Franz,
 And with him his Tyrol!"

The soldier takes the kerchief
Which Hofer will not wear;
Once more the hero murmurs
To God a farewell prayer;
Then cries: "Take aim! Hit well this spot!
Now fire! ... How badly you have shot!
 Adieu, my land Tyrol"!

(Translated from the German.)