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Engels to Karl Henckell[1]
In Zurich

[London, end of 1892]

The Song of Steam, typical of an early, if past, phase of the Labour movement and one which Germany has also experienced.

First published in: Buch der Freiheit.
Gesammelt und herausgegeben von Karl Henckell, Berlin, 1893
Printed according to the original
MECW V50, p77


[1] The editors of the present edition do not have at their disposal the original of Engels’ letter to Karl Henckell. The phrase quoted here came from the notes on the poem ‘The Steam-King’ by E.P Mead, an English workman and poet; these verses were published in a collection of revolutionary poetry, Das Buch der Freiheit, published in Berlin in December 1893. This edition was sponsored by the Social-Democratic group in the Reichstag. In the course of his work K. Henckell asked Engels on 2 November 1892 for verses and songs that could be included into the collection and also for the texts of his letters to be sent to the English poets Swinburne and W. Morris. Engels must have responded favourably to Henckell’s request. Besides the verses of Swinburne, Morris, Goethe, Heine, Schiller, Byron, Mickiewicz and the Russian poets Pushkin, Ryleyev and Nekrasov, the anthology included the poem ‘The Steam-King’ which Engels had translated into German (see present edition, Vol. 6, pp. 474-77) and the old Danish folk song ‘Herr Tidman’, also translated by Engels (see present edition, Vol. 20 pp. 34-35 "F. Engels. Herr Tidmann. Old Danish Folk Song").

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