James and Mary Ford, eds. Every Day in the Year. 1902.

February 20

Andrew Hofer

By Julius Mosen (1803–1867)

  • Andrew Hofer was a Swiss patriot who headed the Tyrolese insurrection of 1809. He gained some victories, was head of the government in 1809, but was finally taken and executed on Feb. 20, 1810.

  • AT Mantua in chains

    The gallant Hofer lay,

    In Mantua to death

    Led him the foe away;

    His brothers’ hearts bled for the chief,

    For Germany, disgrace and grief,

    And Tyrol’s mountain-land!

    His hands behind him clasped,

    With firm and measured pace,

    Marched Andrew Hofer on;

    He feared not death to face,

    Death whom from Iselberg aloft

    Into the vale he sent so oft

    In Tyrol’s holy land.

    But when from dungeon-grate,

    In Mantua’s stronghold,

    Their hands on high he saw

    His faithful brothers hold,

    “O God be with you all!” he said,

    “And with the German realm betrayed,

    And Tyrol’s holy land!”

    The drummer’s hand refused

    To beat the solemn march,

    While Andrew Hofer passed

    The portal’s gloomy arch;

    In fetters shackled, yet so free,

    There on the bastion stood he,

    Brave Tyrol’s gallant son.

    They bade him then kneel down,

    He answered, “I will not!

    Here standing will I die,

    As I have stood and fought,

    As now I tread this bulwark’s bank,

    Long life to my good Kaiser Frank,

    And, Tyrol, hail to thee!”

    A grenadier then took

    The bandage from his hand,

    While Hofer spake a prayer,

    His last on earthly land.

    “Mark well!” he with loud voice exclaimed,

    “Now fire! Ah! ’twas badly aimed!

    O Tyrol, fare thee well!”