An account of Edmund Burke’s central ideas about the Sublime and the Beautiful shows how the emphasis Burke gave to terror helped to shape the Gothic fiction of Ann Radcliffe and Mary Shelley. Focusing on examples from the poetry of William Wordsworth, Lord Byron, Charlotte Smith, Percy Bysshe Shelley, John Keats, and John Clare, the remainder of this essay explores the ways in which Romantic poets both thought about and attempted to represent those elements of the sublime that were instigated by their encounters with the natural world. What emerges as defining about these interactions between the mind and world is how imaginative impulses towards a sense of the sublime often led to a renewed sense of the material world and the very contingencies of existence they sought to transcend. Even Wordsworth’s more reverential response to the natural world as sacrosanct recognises the ‘awe’ of the sublime can be as much consoling as it is disturbing. These disturbing aspects of natural process and the sublime are self-consciously explored in the poetry of Shelley, who subjects notions of transcendence and idealism to sceptical scrutiny. With varying degrees of emphases, the poetry of Byron, Smith, and Clare elide distinctions between nature and culture to acknowledge a sublime more explicitly shaped by temporal and material processes. Finally, a key episode in Keats’s Ode to a Nightingale is read as exemplifying the many difficulties and complexities of the Romantic imagination’s encounter with, and its attempts, to represent transcendence and the sublime.