By G. Kim Blank
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Additional info for Wordsworth’s Influence on Shelley: A Study of Poetic Authority
In the letter to Elizabeth Hitchener, Shelley prefaced his poem with these words: 'The facts are real; that recorded in the last fragment of a stanza is literally true. - The poor man said: - None of my family ever came to parish, and I wd. starve first. I am a poor man but could never hold my head up after that' (Letters, 1, pp. 223-4). And after the poem he added: 'Think of the Poetry which I have inserted as a picture of my feelings not a specimen of my art' (Letters, 1, p. 226). Shelley's priority is apparently to give a true account of destitute people in an uncaring society.
By or around about the new year Shelley had actually met Southey at William Calvert's house, Greta Bank, and subsequently he had a number of meetings with him at Southey's own home, Greta Hall. (Southey's household must have appeared to be a rather interesting one for young Shelley. Greta Hall was originally Coleridge's home, or at least it was until 1804 when he left for Malta. In 1803 Southey arrived for a visit and ended up staying. There he lived with his wife and wife's sister, the latter being the estranged wife of Coleridge.
The cyclical process begins (but it doesn't really begin at any one point in the process) with 'the influence of society or nature' upon the poet's mind, which the poet expresses; the 'manner' of this expression leads to the poet's 'pleasure', which itself must be a part of the poetry or expression; and this 'communicates itself to others', those, presumably, who read the poetry; following, the 'pleasure' in the poetry 'gathers a sort of reduplication from that community' composed of readers. The connection making this process of influence cyclical is that the 'community' itself, which is influenced by 'pleasure' given by the poet, apparently influenced the poet in the 22 Wordsworth's Influence on Shelley first place.