Early on a republican and literary-bohemian, he became known in later life for travel books and poetry before returning to labor writing and communism in the 1930's.
In the period 1890-92, the evidence suggests that he dabbled in revolution, dynamite and conspiracies and then became either a police-spy or, at best, a reactionary reporter damming what he had once believed. The reasons for the change appear to be an exaggerated ego, disillusion with labor-leaders and domestic upheavals.
Palid forms, by famine shrunken,
Helots, harlots, ribald, drunken,
Wine and blood-wet, onward thro' the torchlit highways sweep,
Through a city disunited,
Through a city flame ignited,
To the sound of song and trumpet and the cannon's deep
Through the gloom,
While the fire fiends madly leaps from tower to temple steep.
Reinforced from slum and alley,
By this wild and weird reveille,
Pours the army of the people where their banners drape,
In a city barricaded,
In a city fusilladed
By the deadly rifle and the Gatling and the grape,
Lanes and alleys filthy, and the foul abode of rape.
Tyrants flee and cowards falter-,
For a lamp-post and a halter
Wait for every tyrant at the corner of the street,
In the hour of retribution,
In the night of revolution,
When on common ground the tyrant and the helot meet,
Burning in the helot's bosom - fanned to fever heat.
Let the tyrant beg no pity-
His the palace, his the city,
His the silken raiment and the costly food and wine;
Ours the forms emaciated,
Of the women violated,
Ours the endless torture in the workshop and the mine;
To the level of the felon and the concubine.
By our women fever-stricken,
Where the foetid odours thicken
In the homes of hunger, where the children cry for bread;
By your soulless apathetic,
Scorning of our wrongs pathetic,
By the seas of blood and tears by generations shed,
Now we ask, with smoking rifle, "vengeance on your head."
Marching on with footsteps steady,
Shotted guns and bayonets ready,
Goes the army of the people, in the days to be,
Through a city barricaded,
Through a city fusilladed,
Where the discontented masses struggle to be free,
Wrongs of ages to the song of "Long Live Anarchy."