Monday, November 28, 2011

Love Poems by, I kid you not, Karl Marx

It seems improbable that that one teenage guy with the notebook full of angst-ridden, bad poetry is a future shaper of human affairs, a revolutionary, an economist, historian, philosopher, sociologist, and a founder of a new socioeconomic philosophy.

The poet in question

Marx, though, was definitely that one guy. At eighteen, he languished for his burning passion for Jenny Von Westphalen, who loved him with equal helpings of angst and burning passion. However, since she was four years older than him, she feared their love was improper and kept their promise of engament secret. She was also afraid that his youthful ardor would soon be extinguished, and asked him if he really loved her.

Jenny herself
In return to her pleas for reassurance he wrote romantic poems in a derivative Romantic style. He makes frequent references to bosoms, lyres, and burning passion. My favorite poem was called "Lucinda", and it told a rather melodramatic tale of a young knight who promised his love to a lady. He left to fight in her honorable name, and returned after much success to find his lady marrying another man. He gathered the attention of the wedding party, decried her infidelity, and promptly stabs herself. Not to be outdone, Lucinda grabs the dagger and has a go at herself. She doesn't die, though, and cackling madly and bleeding, she drinks from the fallen knight's blood and skips off with her new husband.

Geez, I wonder what poor Jenny did to earn that poem. 

Oh, by the way, they did end up getting married. They had seven children, one of whom they named Franziska.

Karl: What you didn't know is that I ALWAYS keep a pistol in my pocket!

I'm telling you, that one guy with the horrible poetry... watch out for that one. Especially if he begins cultivating shrubbery on his face and muttering about the proletariat. 


  1. brilliant mind, too brilliant for humans

  2. I can't believe I never got to read this book! Maybe I can find it in the original German over here.

  3. Love poetry by Karl Marx . . . who knew?