He was born in Santa Cruz de Tenerife on December 9, 1850. He he married in La Laguna on October 15, 1875, with Doña María de los Dolores Tabares and Nava, with whom he had two children, Don Juan and Don Alonso.
He was gentleman of the chamber of Alfonso XIII and number commander of the order of Carlos III. The Royal Economic Society of Friends of the Country of Tenerife appointed him vice director in December 1892, and an honorary member in 1918. He was mayor of La Laguna and provincial deputy < /b>on several occasions.
He died on September 23, 1921 in La Laguna. In one of his favorite corners a bronze bust was erected in his memory, engraving on the pedestal the second quatrain of his sonnet “My portrait”. This bust is located in the Plaza de la Junta Suprema in La Laguna.
According to Bernardo Benítez de Lugo’s speech at the tribute held at the Athenaeum of La Laguna: “José Tabares Bartlett was a poet from Tenerife, inspired, patriotic, endowed with delicate feelings and a sensitive soul; and a second, the object that he describes and to which he sings, is his homeland, Tenerife, this privileged island, exceptional in the world and that treasures so many beauties and wonders […]
His poetry went through several eras beginning with a strong influence of poet Viana, in works such as “Poetic sketch on the conquest of the Canary Islands” (1881); “Poems” (1896) and “Rhythms” (1918). Later titles like “La Caza” (1908) and “Trompos y cometas” (1911) seek greater perfection. In his last stage he assumed the new Rubenian currents and released, among others, “Intimate Verses”.
Also highly influenced by the poem Canarias, by Nicolás Estévanez, adopts the features of the island landscape.
Caserío el Boquerón: vestiges of his life
José Tabares Bartlett lived here, where he describes in his texts the Canarian landscapes, its hills and traditions. In the Caserío you can find enclaves where he would sit looking for inspiration observing the landscape of the place.
This farm was owned by his wife María de los Dolores Tabares y Nava (1856 – 1952). The following photo shows the stone from which the poet contemplated the Valle de Guerra.
His poetic work
Some of his poems were “Bosquejo poético sobre la conquista de Canarias, y un romance” (1881); “Poems” (1896) and “Rhythms” (1918). The poem “La Caza” written in 1907 is considered by critics as one of Tabares Bartlett’s best. Valbuena Prat expressed: “The most interesting poet of the regional group is José Tabares Bartlett, for having a more varied work, and, at the end of it, penetrating into the new lyrical conception of the Canarian landscape”.
Don José Tabares was a temperament of exquisite sensitivity, a man of affection, a personal characteristic that beats through his lyrical production, mostly in the verses of intimate motives.Among his works, “Poesías” (1896) stands out for the verses dedicated to to his deceased son, where supernatural faith comforts the poet and highlights how much he loved his son.
“La Caza”, a poem written in 1907 and published in 1908, demonstrates the full mastery that he had of the landscape Islander possesses this poet. In the preliminary note of the poem, he shows the confession of his insularism: «I confess that I am a persistent lover of the customs and uses of my land, of everything that constitutes its distinctive character; of the hobbies that its nature in regional life, and how much it breathes and beats within it. More attractive to me the further away their ethnic spirit comes on the wings of time through unknown generations»*”. The poem’s argument is the exercise of hunting, where the poet also describes the landscape in which it unfolds , and painfully evokes the memory of the Guanche race, a memory suggested to him by the caves with “sun-brown mouths”, troglodytic dwellings of the primitive inhabitants of Tenerife.Here is how he outlines the landscape.
The landscape of Punta del Hidalgo, recreated by the fine art of Tabares, is one of the best works. It deals with insularism, and consists of hendecasyllables, so well constructed and so fragrant: