The following biographical sketch (translated from Spanish) is adapted from the one found on this website dedicated to Bécquer.
Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer was born in Seville in 1836, the son of a famous painter whose patron was a duke. He seemed destined to enjoy an easy life which in fact he was never to know.
When he was only five years old, his father died, leaving him in the care of his uncle, along with brother Valerio, who would become a
painter like his father, and with whom he would visit a great number of Spanish cities.
From these trips emerged his Historia de los templos de España (History of the temples of Spain) and his famous Leyendas (Legends), set in the various regional traditions.
While he was working for the newspaper "El Contemporáneo," he published his Cartas desde mi Celda (Letters from my cell), written in a monastery where he recovered from a physical and emotional breakdown brought on by a case of tuberculosis and a definitive break-up with Julia Espín, of whom he had been very much enamored, as readers may see from the poetry he dedicated to her.
Even while recovering from this disappointment, he married Casta Esteban Navarro, about whom he wrote "Tu aliento es el aliento de las flores," in his poem "A Casta," rima XLVI. But this cure was unsuccessful, with marital disputes increasing to the point at which
she abandoned him only to return some months before the death of the poet, which occurred in Madrid on December 22, 1870, as he was
preparing the edition of his complete works.
Thirty-four years of life were sufficient to immortalize a surname taken from a grandfather to replace that of his parents which was
Domínguez Bastida. Pain and pleasure, hope and disillusionment, dreams and nightmares, the ordinary and the extraordinary all interact in the Rimas.
With the promise of the author that "wherever man encounters mystery, there will be poetry." And the certainty that wherever there is poetry, the works of Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer will be read.