Ode (poem)

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"Ode" is a poem written by the English poet Arthur O'Shaughnessy and first published in 1873.[1] It is the first poem in O'Shaughnessy's collection Music and Moonlight (1874). "Ode" 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.[2]

— Stanza 1

The phrase "movers and shakers" (now used to describe powerful and worldly individuals and groups) originates here.

The poem has been set to music, or alluded to, many times: Sir Edward Elgar set the ode to music in 1912 in his work The Music Makers, Op. 69. The work was dedicated to Elgar's old friend Nicholas Kilburn, and the first performance took place in 1912 at the Birmingham Triennial Music Festival.

Performances available include: The Music Makers, with Sir Adrian Boult conducting the London Philharmonic Orchestra in 1975 (reissued 1999), paired with Elgar's The Dream of Gerontius; and the 2006 album Sea Pictures, paired with The Music Makers, Simon Wright conducting the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra. Zoltán Kodály (1882–1967) also set "Ode" to music in his work Music Makers, dedicated to Merton College, Oxford, on the occasion of its 700th anniversary in 1964.


  1. ^ O'Shaughnessy, Arthur (4 October 1873). "An Ode". Appleton's Journal. New York, NY: D. Appleton & Company. Retrieved 15 April 2014.
  2. ^ O'Shaughnessy, Arthur William Edgar (1874). Music and Moonlight : poems and songs. London: Chatto and Windus. pp. 1–5.

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