Today marks the 180th anniversary of the birth of Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer

Today marks the 180th anniversary of the birth of Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer

It is on days like today that I am especially glad to be able to write about literature. The reason, here: Today marks the 180th anniversary of the birth of Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer, one of the two romantic authors who "resurrected" romanticism in Spain. The other writer, how not to name her: Rosalía de Castro. Together they revived Romanticism, which had begun its decline around 1850. For this reason, these two authors are classified as post-Romantic.

But take care of Bécquer, we will briefly summarize what his person and work meant for literature:

  1. He wrote many works, but above all he is known for his "Rhymes" y "Legends", the latter written in prose.
  2. Like a good romantic loved several women: Julia Espín, Elisa Guillén and Casta Navarro. With the latter he married in 1861 and divorced years later.
  3. He died with little more than 34 years, Unfortunately. We could not enjoy his literature for a long time but despite this he became a quite recognized writer among other writers.
  4. Still, his poetry was published posthumously, specifically in 1871, since his first poems were lost in a fire, for which Bécquer had to rewrite them, also creating new ones, which he called "The Book of Sparrows". After the death of the author, his friends and colleagues rearranged these writings and published them under the name that is known today: "Rhymes".

«Rimas» by Bécquer

His rhymes are short poems, popular in tone and with a lot of musicality in their verses. In them, 4 totally differentiated blocks can be perfectly observed:

  • Rhymes I to VIII: They speak of poetry itself, of the poet's act of writing. In them the difficulty that the poet has in finding the right words that express exactly what he wants to say is reflected on many occasions.
  • Rhymes IX to XXIX: They talk about hopeful and joyful love, love that is felt for the first time and is exciting.
  • Rhymes XXX to LI: These, on the contrary, speak of love disappointment, and all that this entails.
  • Rhymes LII to LXXVI: His most frequent themes are loneliness, pain, sadness and hopelessness.

Gustavo Adolfo Becquer

In these rhymes, Bécquer speaks to a slender, blue-eyed woman («Your blue pupil ...»), with blond hair and fair complexion. He says that it is a frustrated and impossible love, but sometimes the woman seems to be the poetry itself, the one that is not reached, that perfect poetry that resists the author ...

Bécquer's poetry differs greatly from that previously written romantic poetry. Bécquer, under a intimate and mysterious halo, flees from the typical consonant rhymes of romantic verses, and creates his own compositions: shorter and shorter, more direct, more natural, not so forced or ornate, ...

He himself said this of his poetry:

«Natural, brief, dry, that springs from the soul like an electric spark, that wounds the feeling with a word and flees; and naked of the artifice,… it awakens the thousand ideas that sleep in the bottomless ocean of fantasy ».

The symbolism of his poetry and its essentiality exercised a strong influence on authors and Juan Ramón Jiménez or those of the Generation of 27. Therefore, it could be said that Bécquer was a poet ahead of his time, a forerunner of later movements, as well as a late romantic.

Here is a documentary about the life and work of GA Bécquer. It's only 15 minutes, it's worth seeing:

Some of his rhymes (XXX, LIII,


A tear appeared in his eyes
and to my lip a phrase of forgiveness;
Pride spoke and wiped away his tears,
and the phrase on my lips expired.


I am going down a path; her, for another;
but, thinking of our mutual love,
I still say: "Why did I keep quiet that day?"
And she will say: "Why didn't I cry?"

Sighs are air and go to the air.
Tears are water and they go to the sea.
Tell me, woman, when love is forgotten
Do you know where it goes?


The dark swallows will return
on your balcony their nests to hang,
and again with the wing to its crystals
playing they will call.

But those that the flight held back
your beauty and my happiness to contemplate,
those who learned our names ...
Those ... will not return !.

The bushy honeysuckle will return
from your garden the walls to climb,
and again in the evening even more beautiful
its flowers will open.

But those, curdled with dew
whose drops we watched tremble
and fall like tears of the day ...
Those ... will not return!

They will return from the love in your ears
the fiery words to sound;
your heart from its deep sleep
maybe it will wake up.

But mute and absorbed and on my knees
as God is worshiped before his altar,
as I have loved you ...; get off the hook,
Well ... they won't love you!

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  1.   Teodora Leon Salmon by Amiot said

    Well, I really liked listening to the audio about Becquer's life and reading his rhymes. And as a lover of letters, I would like to receive literary news.
    I also write and publish.
    Thank you very much.

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