Andreas Hofer by William Wordsworth

William Wordsworth’s sonnets to Andreas Hofer which contributed to the romanticisation of the innkeeper’s image and the legend surrounding the insurrection.


IX 1
[Composed 1809. — Published Oct. 20, 1809 (The
); 1815.]
OF mortal parents is the Hero born
By whom the undaunted Tyrolese are led?
Or is it Tell's great Spirit, from the dead
Returned to animate an age forlorn?
He comes like Phοbus through the gates
of morn  5
When dreary darkness is discomfited,
Yet mark his modest state! upon his head,
That simple crest, a heron's plume, is worn.
O Liberty! they stagger at the shock
From van to rear — and with one mind
would flee,  10
But half their host is buried: — rock on
Descends: — beneath this godlike War­
rior, see!
Hills, torrents, woods, embodied to bemock
The Tyrant, and confound his cruelty.
[Composed 1809. — Published October 26, 1809
(The Friend); 1815.]
ADVANCE — come forth from thy Tyrolean
Dear Liberty! stern Nymph of soul un­
Sweet Nymph, O rightly of the moun­
tains named!
Through the long chain of Alps from
mound to mound
And o'er the eternal snows, like Echo,
bound;  5
Like Echo, when the hunter train at dawn
Have roused her from her sleep: and
Cliffs, woods and caves, her viewless steps
And babble of her pastime! — On, dread
With such invisible motion speed thy flight,
Through hanging clouds, from craggy
height to height,  11
Through the green vales and through the
herdsman's bower –
That all the Alps may gladden in thy might,
Here, there, and in all places at one hour.
[Composed 1809. — Published December 21, 1809
(The Friend); 1815.]
THE Land we from our fathers had in
And to our children will transmit, or die;
This is our maxim, this our piety;
And God and Nature say that it is just.
That which we would perform in arms –
we must!  5
We read the dictate in the infant's eye;
In the wife's smile; and in the placid sky;
And, at our feet, amid the silent dust
Of them that were before us. — Sing aloud
Old songs, the precious music of the
heart!  10
Give, herds and flocks, your voices to the
While we go forth, a self-devoted crowd,
With weapons grasped in fearless hands,
to assert
Our virtue, and to vindicate mankind.
[Composed 1809. — Published November 16, 1809
(The Friend); 1815.]
ALAS! what boots the long laborious quest
Of moral prudence, sought through good
and ill;
Or pains abstruse — to elevate the will,
And lead us on to that transcendent rest
Where every passion shall the sway attest
Of Reason, seated on her sovereign hill;
What is it but a vain and curious skill,
If sapient Germany must lie deprest,
Beneath the brutal sword? — Her haughty
Shall blush; and may not we with sorrow
say,  10
A few strong instincts and a few plain rules,
Among the herdsmen of the Alps, have
More for mankind at this unhappy day
Than all the pride of intellect and thought?
[Composed 1809. — Published December 21, 1809
(The Friend); 1815.]
AND is it among rude untutored Dales,
There, and there only, that the heart is
And, rising to repel or to subdue,
Is it by rocks and woods that man prevails?
Ah no! though Nature's dread protection
fails,  5
There is a bulwark in the soul. This knew
Iberian Burghers when the sword they
In Zaragoza, naked to the gales
Of fiercely-breathing war. The truth was
By Palafox, and many a brave compeer,
Like him of noble birth and noble mind;
By ladies, meek-eyed women without
fear;  12
And wanderers of the street, to whom is
The bread which without industry they

William Wordsworth