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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.— 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 entitled The Music Makers, Op 69. The work was dedicated to Elgar's old friend Nicholas Kilburn and the first performance took place at the Birmingham Triennial Music Festival in 1912. Performances available include: The Music Makers, with Sir Adrian Boult conducting the London Philharmonic Orchestra in 1975 (reissued 1999), paired with Elgar's 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 the ode to music in his work Music Makers, 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, pulls her face towards him and gently replies, "We are the music makers, and we are the dreamers of dreams."
- The line was played during the 89th Academy Awards In Memoriam section, when Gene Wilder was honored.
- A sample of Willy Wonka's line appears at the beginning of Bassnectar's album Motions of Mutation.
- Wonka's line is played at the beginning of Bastille's cover of "Dreams" by Fleetwood Mac.
- 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 track "Tighten Up" from The Specktator's album "About That Life" features an introduction of a sample of Willy Wonka saying "We are the music makers, and we are the dreamers of dreams." The same track on Spotify does not feature the same introduction.
- 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."
- The Gathering's instrumental song "Diamond Box" begins with a sample of Wonka's line.
- The podcast The Music Makers begins with a sample of Wonka saying the phrase.
- 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.
- Antonio Breschi’s track "Poem and Gig" from his album My Irish Portrait features the first three stanzas and is recited by Ronnie Drew.
- 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 in "Lonely Soul," a Chillout track by the musician Direct.
- The line “We are the music makers, we are the dreamers of dreams” is quoted multiple times in the song “Dreamers of Dreams” by Orkidea
- The line “We are the music makers, we are the dreamers of dreams” is quoted in the song “From Your Mind Into My Heart” by A Sol Mechanic
- The line “We are the music makers, we are the dreamers of dreams” was also used on track "East 98th Street" at Interstate Highway album Man with No Name (musician).
- The line "We are the music makers, we are the dreamers of dreams" is quoted in the beginning of HugLife's trap remix of The Weeknd 's "Wicked Games"
- The line “We are the music makers, we are the dreamers of dreams” is sampled on the track "Dreamers & Dreams" by Arctic Moon and Bryan Kearney
- The line “We are the music makers, we are the dreamers of dreams” is sampled on the track "Dreamers of Dreamz” by D-Block & S-te-Fan.
- The line “We are the music makers, we are the dreamers of dreams” is used in the opening part of the song "Ode” by Sylence (Hardstyle Artist).
- "Music Makers & Dreamers of Dreams" is a track off the album "As Above, So Below" by "Windmills".
- The Seo Linn song "Music Makers", commissioned by RTÉ for the centenary of the 1916 Easter Rising, is in Irish but uses much of the first stanza of "Ode" as its chorus in English.
- Three stanzas of the poem are referenced in "Black", a House track by Fabian Reichelt and Raycoux Jr. on the album Circle
- South African band, Gimp, performed a rock anthem of the poem in 2005 at Woodstock South Africa.
- The phrase "We are the dreamers of dreams" is quoted in Episode 8, The Mystery Date Observation, of the 9th Season of The Big Bang Theory.
- The phrase "We are the music makers, we are the dreamers of dreams" appears at the end of The Black Eyed Peas' "Get Ready" on their 2018 album Masters of the Sun Vol. 1.
- The first two lines of the poem are quoted during the 6th episode of Netflix's revitalization of “Mystery Science Theater 3000” while the cast screens a movie titled “Starcrash."
- BronyCon, an annual fan convention for fans of the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic animated television show, used the poem during its closing ceremonies and again on social media when thanking fans for attending its final event.
- The line “We are the music makers, we are the dreamers of dreams” is quoted by Noah Weisberg in Episode 5, 2nd Season of Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist