Quotation by Ralph Waldo Emerson

Nature is a setting that fits equally well a comic or a mourning piece. In good health, the air is a cordial of incredible virtue. Crossing a bare common, in snow puddles, at twilight, under a clouded sky, without having in my thoughts any occurrence of special good fortune, I have enjoyed a perfect exhilaration. I am glad to the brink of fear.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. Nature, ch. 1 (1836, revised and repr. 1849).

The last word "fear" invokes Kant's notion of the sublime in his essay "Anthropology from a Pragmatic Viewpoint," in which he defines the sublime as "that greatness in size and degree which arouses reverence. It invites us to approach it ... but it deters (for instance, the thunder above our head, or mountains towering and savage) by causing us to fear that in comparison with it we are like nothing in our own estimation" (translated by Walter Cerf). See Kant's Critique of Judgment, especially the second book, "Analytic of the Sublime."
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