About the Poet- Arthur William Edgar O’Shaughnessy (14 March 1844 – 30 January 1881) was a British poet and herpetologist Of Irish descent, he was born in London. He is most remembered for his Ode, beginning with the words “We are the music makers, /And we are the dreamers of dreams”, which has been set to music several times. He published his first collection of poetry, Epic of Women, in 1870, followed two years later by Lays of France in 1872, and then Music and Moonlight in 1874. When he was 30, he married and did not produce any more volumes of poetry for the last seven years of his life. He died at only 36 from a “chill” after he walked home from the theater on a rainy night. His last volume, Songs of a Worker, was published posthumously in 1881.
About the Poem-
“We are the music makers” is an ode by the British poet or Irish descent Arthur William Edgar O’Shaughnessy. O’Shaughnessy was deeply influenced by French poetry, by the Pre-Raphaelite group and by Charles Swinburne. His first published collection of poetry was called “Epic of women” (1870), which was followed by “Lays of France” (1872) and “Music and moonlight” (1874) under which the first poem is the ode which is popularly known by its famous first line “We are the music makers”. This poem is a tribute to all creative artists in the world.
Summary of Ode “We are the Music Makers”
The poet begins the poem by addressing all the artists like musicians, writers, painters and so on. He calls them “music-makers” and “dreamers of dreams”. He doesn’t mention a specific art form which gives the poem a universal appeal. Music offers the best escape routes from the harsh monotony of everyday life. The artists are capable of creating a world of their own where they can wander alone by the sea and ponder over things by the secluded stream. There is a sense of despondence in every artist which serves to feed the fire in them and shape their creativity into artistic works. The poet also brings into limelight the hard life of the artists who are often regarded as “losers” and “forsakers” by the society as they are often believed to be eccentric as they are beyond the reach of the society.. They suffer from loneliness and often there comes a point where all they have is their art as they do not pursue worldly pleasures. “The pale moon” is a symbol of the minimal income of the artists in our society. This also draws our attention to the poor artists who look for a good fortune or patrons to help them sell their art. However, even though the artists remain isolated and aloof from the mainstream society, they are the ultimate “movers and shakers”. This is exactly where the phrase “movers and shakers” originated. Artists are rebellious; they are capable of stirring powerful emotions in the minds of the people. Through their art, they can bring a change in the world.
You can go through the analysis of Ode “We are the Music Makers”.