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The Ode is the first poem in O'Shaughnessy's collection Music and Moonlight (1874). It has nine stanzas, although it is commonly believed to be only three stanzas long. The opening stanza is:
- 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,
- On whom the pale moon gleams:
- Yet we are the movers and shakers
- Of the world for ever, it seems.
The phrase "movers and shakers" originates here.
The poem has been set to music, or alluded to, many times:
- Edward Elgar's The Music Makers, Op. 69, uses the entire poem.
- The Hungarian composer Zoltán Kodály also made a setting for and dedicated to Merton College, Oxford on the occasion of its 700th anniversary in 1964.
Cultural references and parodies
- In the feature film Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, after Willy Wonka (Gene Wilder) states that "The snozzberries taste like snozzberries!", Veruca Salt responds in an arrogant tone, "Snozzberries? Who ever heard of a snozzberry?". Willy Wonka grabs her cheeks and gently replies, "We are the music makers, and we are the dreamers of dreams."
- A sample of Willy Wonka's line appears at the beginning of Bassnectar's album Motions of Mutation.
- The track "Nephatiti" from 808 State's album Ex:el uses a sample of Willy Wonka saying "We are the music makers, and we are the dreamers of dreams."
- The introduction of the song "Nothing Less (Ft. Slug)" by the rap group Living Legends begins with the sample of Willy Wonka.
- The Aphex Twin track "We Are the Music Makers" from Selected Ambient Works 85-92 begins with a sample of Willy Wonka. It is repeated a number of times throughout the track.
- Echolyn's 1992 song "A Little Nonsense" contains a sample of Wonka saying the phrase. The song's title also references another quote which Wonka sings, "A little nonsense now and then / Is relished by the wisest men."
- Scarling. has a song called "We Are the Music Makers." The line is said in the beginning of the chorus.
- The first stanza is quoted in the animated TV show American Dad on Season 5, Episode 6.
- DJ Zinc's track "Music Makers" repeats this phrase throughout the song.
- Joy Electric's 1996 album We Are the Music Makers is a reference to the first line.
- The track "Movers And Shakers" by Eden Burning begins with a setting of the first stanza of "Ode".
- The track "Music Makers" by ILS the track starts off with "We are the music makers, and we are the dreamers of dreams."
- "Ode" is quoted at the end of the movie Last Summer in the Hamptons (1995).
- The initial verse is used at the start of the Raymond E. Feist novel Rage of a Demon King.
- In the Hollywood party scene in Stephen Sondheim's musical Merrily We Roll Along, the character Mary sardonically surveys the other guests and comments "These are the movers / These are the shapers / These are the people / That fill the papers."
- The poem is used in the introduction of Elizabeth Haydon's book The Assassin King.
- The opening line has been incorporated into the name of the New York band We Are the Music Makers, and the Singaporean Orchestra of the Music Makers.
- The line “We are the music makers, we are the dreamers of dreams” is also quoted multiple times in the song “Imagineer” by Lange
- The line “We are the music makers, we are the dreamers of dreams” was quoted at Lonely Soul, a chillout track by the musician Direct.