Hopkins's “The Windhover” is replete with imagery traditionally associated with royalty. For instance, we have a reference to
dom of daylight's dauphin.
In France, the Dauphin was the formal title given to the heir apparent, the next in line to the throne. In “The Windhover,” the eponymous kestrel is depicted as the crown prince or heir to the kingdom of daylight, emphasizing the bird's status as one of nature's undisputed aristocrats.
The high-flying, solitary bird that so enraptures the speaker is in a world of his own, just like a monarch, who by virtue of their exalted status, occupies a position considerably higher than ourselves on the social ladder.
The regal imagery presented to us by Hopkins refers not just to earthly monarchs, but to the King of Kings himself, Jesus Christ, to whom “The Windhover” is dedicated. As we've already established, the windhover, or kestrel, is the heir apparent, dauphin of daylight's kingdom. This parallels the position of Jesus Christ as the Son, the second person within the Holy Trinity.
Through the figure of the bird and the regal images conjured up by its majestic flight, we see the beauty and nobility of “Christ our Lord,” to whom Hopkins dedicates his poem. The windhover, and the glory and majesty of Christ it represents, transcends the temporal world with all its endless toil, as depicted in the “sheer plod” of line twelve.