An enormous amount of British Romantic literary production is situated in the countryside, as a setting for narrated action, a scene for poetic meditation, or a place to write. This chapter explores the importance of country matter to the Romantics. 'Country' is, in the vocabulary of cultural geography, the term in which the dialectics of space, place and landscape are most vividly captured. The vast detail and intricacy of the country matter, which has a voluminous literature associated with it, is made intimidating by the limitations of an American perspective on England. In the aftermath of the work of Raymond Williams, John Barrell, Ann Bermingham and numerous other scholars working within a materialist tradition, it has been impossible to view the Romantic picturesque without an awareness of its function as an ideological mystification. The picturesque is a multiply articulated answer to Cobbett's observation. The great longing that haunts the Romantic image of the country is the desire of the past.