Written during his first exile in Spain, when he was 19, this poem was inspired by and dedicated to Emma Goróstegui y Campuzano, wrongly identified in all anthologies by only her maternal surname. "A Emma" appears in numerous sites on the internet, where invariably the wrong date of its composition is given ("1883" instead of 1872) and the last line is transcribed incorrectly (substituting "mujeres" for palabras) with very unhappy results.
No sientas que te falte
el don de hablar que te arrebata el cielo,
no necesita tu belleza esmalte
ni tu alma pura más extenso vuelo.
No mires, niña mía,
en tu mutismo fuente de dolores,
ni llores las palabras que te digan
ni las palabras que te faltan llores.
Si brillan en tu faz tan dulces ojos
que el alma enamorada se va en ellos,
no los nublen jamás tristes enojos,
que todas las palabras de mis labios,
no son una mirada de tus ojos...
Madrid, 10 de julio de 1872
Do not feel sad, dear child, because you lack
The gift of speech which heaven has denied you:
Your beauty and pure soul do not require,
Nor are there, words that can soar any higher.
Let not your deafness be a source of sorrow,
Nor cry because of words you cannot hear,
Nor cry because of words you cannot say;
For such sweet eyes light up your countenance,
A loving heart but sees and is lost in them.
Never allow your tears to dim their brightness;
For all the words that ever crossed my lips
Ne'er said as much as one look from your eyes.
Madrid, July 10, 1872.