At the end of his "Defence of Poetry," Shelley states the following. A few of the words may be difficult, so we will need to unpack this to understand what the last line means:
Poets are the hierophants of an unapprehended inspiration; the mirrors of the gigantic shadows which futurity casts upon the present; the words which express what they understand not; the trumpets which sing to battle, and feel not what they inspire; the influence which is moved not, but moves. Poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world.
First, hierophants are priests, usually associated with ancient Greece, who interpret mysteries. Unapprehended means not understood. Finally, legislators, a word we might slide over without thinking about, are, on the surface lawmakers, but the important point is that in making laws they bring incarnation or reality to ideas. A new law—such as civil rights legislation—can change reality.
Shelley is therefore saying, first, that poets are priests like those in ancient...
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