Already immortalized by the time Willy Wonka re-immortalized it, Arthur O’Shaughnessy’s ode resonates beautifully with those sure they are the music makers, the dreamers of dreams, the movers and shakers.
And wouldn’t that be all of us?
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.
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.
-Arthur William Edgar O’Shaughnessy, “Ode” from his book “Music and Moonlight,” 1874