Romanticism arrived rather later in Spain than in Germany, England, or America, but the poems of Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer immediately recall those of Shelley, Keats, and perhaps especially, Poe, rather than his Victorian contemporaries in their themes, as well as in their intensity of expression. Rima IV, "No digáis que, agotado su tesoro," seems to be referring to its own lateness in the scheme of European Romanticism, as the poet protests that there are still fit subjects remaining for poetry. These are, of course, typically Romantic subjects: love, nature, and the senses. Like both Poe and Keats, Bécquer is suspicious of science, asserting that poetry thrives on mystery:
mientras haya un misterio para el hombre,
As long as there is a mystery for man,
There will be poetry!
Rima LIII, "Volverán las oscuras golondrinas," also places the natural world at the center of the poem alongside the poet's love. It is this centrality which makes the poem Romantic with a capital R, rather than simply being a love poem which refers to the natural world in passing, as Renaissance poets did. The honeysuckle and the swallows are as mysterious as the poet's love and are mysterious in the same way. A similar mystery is expressed in Rima XI, "Yo soy ardiente, yo soy morena," which begins as a traditional, passionate love poem, then drifts away into something far more uncertain, ghostly, and therefore characteristically Romantic in the final stanza:
Yo soy un sueño, un imposible,
vano fantasma de niebla y luz;
soy incorpórea, soy intangible;
no puedo amarte. -¡Oh, ven; ven tú!
I am a dream, I am an impossible
Fantasy hollow of luster and gloom;
I am impalpable, I am intangible;
I cannot love thee." - Oh, come thou; come!*
*Alison Young's translation, one of several attached below.