Edmund Burke’s Philosophical Enquiry (1757) brought the sublime closer to experiences of awe, terror and danger. In Burke’s opinion, nature is the most sublime object, capable of generating the strongest sensations in its beholders. This thought is evidenced in the Romantic works of Wordsworth, John Keats, PB Shelly, Byron and others. Most of the works by these eminent poets and writers personified nature in its purest form and called it humanity’s best friend.
Wordsworth added a whole new dimension to the poetry on nature and gave some of the best poems which are in vogue even today. His ‘Lyrical Ballads’ written and published with ST Coleridge gave birth to traditions which were unheard of earlier. Most of the works by Wordsworth are vocal of the beauty and wonder hidden in nature. And it was a radical thought in those days. Modern poet TS Eliot may have a different opinion and least regards for their works. But most other scholars and poets agree to the freshness and new dimension in the Romantic poetry.
Focus on some of the finest things which nature gives us is perhaps what struck Wordsworth. This caused the sublime moment. It takes place in the poetry of others in that age. For instance John Keats’ odes propagate and promote this thought further. PB Shelly’s ‘Ode To the West Wind’ and ‘Ode to the Skylark’ are also in close contest when it comes to achieving the Romantic Sublime.
In essence, the Romantic conception of the sublime proved influential for several poets of the Romantic era. It inspired generations of poetic talents, painters, artists and philosophers. However, this was not the first time when nature captured the centre-stage. Nature has been the DNA of poetry for ages before. The Romantic Age was the first time when nature was valued, and assigned a soul and a body like the humans have. All of a sudden, there was a new human, identified and discovered by the Romantic poets and philosophers. This human continues to live since then.