Gustavo A. Becquer was the archetypal romantic poet, devoting his life to poetry. The Rhymes, published during his lifetime in newspapers and collected by friends in a volume a year after his death, is characterized by subjectivity, musicality, and the traditional romantic themes of love, death, the idealized past, and evocative landscapes. Becquer uses the metaphor of yearning for an unattainable woman, first an imaginary muse and then a real woman who rejects him to describe the spiritual quest of the poet for ineffable beauty and inspiration. Becquer's poetry has been called plastic and painterly for its emphasis on color, light, and architecture. Influences on The Rhymes are said to be primarily those of Heine, Byron, Goethe, Schiller, Musset, and Lamartine. An atmosphere of magic and fantasy pervades the romantic Legends (1860-64), which are set in distant places, such as India, and remote times, primarily the Middle Ages. Damaso Alonso called Becquer's work the beginning of contemporary poetry. Becquer died at age 34 of tuberculosis and the effects of his bohemian life of poverty.