Arthur William Edgar O'Shaughnessy

(14 March 1844 – 30 January 1881 / London)

We Are The Music-Makers

Poem by Arthur William Edgar O'Shaughnessy

We are the music-makers,
And we are the dreamers of dreams,
Wandering by lone sea-breakers,
And sitting by desolate streams.
World-losers and world-forsakers,
Upon whom the pale moon gleams;
Yet we are the movers and shakers,
Of the world forever, it seems.

With wonderful deathless ditties
We build up the world's great cities,
And out of a fabulous story
We fashion an empire's glory:
One man with a dream, at pleasure,
Shall go forth and conquer a crown;
And three with a new song's measure
Can trample an empire down.

We, in the ages lying
In the buried past of the earth,
Built Nineveh with our sighing,
And Babel itself with our mirth;
And o'erthrew them with prophesying
To the old of the new world's worth;
For each age is a dream that is dying,
Or one that is coming to birth.

Comments about We Are The Music-Makers by Arthur William Edgar O'Shaughnessy

  • Practicing PoetessPracticing Poetess (3/18/2017 4:56:00 PM)

    Goosebumps here.
    Richly descriptive; A poet's dream!
    Our poems shall live on, long after we are gone.
    I'm still new enough to this site (since March 13th) that I only just discovered this feature, but this one is going in my favourite poems list!(Report)Reply

    2 person liked.
    1 person did not like.
  • Brian JaniBrian Jani (6/19/2014 4:41:00 AM) this poem, i can relate to it(Report)Reply

    7 person liked.
    1 person did not like.
  • Ed Yap (4/5/2010 11:06:00 PM)

    The version posted elsewhere on this site (http: // is more correct. There, the sixth line reads, 'On whom the pale moon gleams' not 'Upon whom the pale moon gleams' as it appears here.(Report)Reply

    14 person liked.
    1 person did not like.
  • Lorraine Margueritte Gasrel Black (8/5/2009 9:40:00 AM)

    One of my favorites.always a ten! ! !(Report)Reply

    9 person liked.
    3 person did not like.
  • Shannon Warren (6/4/2004 7:58:00 AM)

    This isn't the full poem. Do you know of anywhere that has the full thing?(Report)Reply

    Kate Cartwright(10/2/2015 4:43:00 AM)

    It had 9 verses originally. Palgrave discarded 6 of them and put the remaining 3 in his Palgrave's Golden Treasury like verses 1 and 3 - 2 is a bit Victorian British Empire. What you think?

    9 person liked.
    2 person did not like.
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Read poems about / on: dream, birth, music, world, song, moon, sea, city

Poem Submitted: Friday, January 3, 2003