Synopsis of We are the Music Makers by Arthur William Edagr O’Shaughnessy 

About the Poet Arthur William Edagr O’Shaughnessy

The Irish-English singer, Arthur William Edgar O'Shaughnessy, was born in London in the year 1844. He was connected, for a while, with the British Museum, and was transferred later to the Department of Natural History. His first literary success, Epic of Women (1870), and other three volumes of verse plays of France (1872), Music and Moonlight (1874), and Songs of a Worker (1881) promised a brilliant future for the young poet. But always being delicate in health, his hopes were dashed by periods of illness and early death in London in 1881.

Theme of the Poem We are the Music Makers

'We are the music-makers' by O'Shaughnessy tells how similar yet different can the entertainers be. The motive is the same, which is to bring joy to the world, but the methods of doing so are very different as we are the masters of our own destiny. We control most of our life situations, and for those we cannot, we can control is our reaction to that situation. The things that we want in life, our dreams and desires are the goals that we must work hard to achieve.

The poem is made up of three stanzas of eight lines each. The rhyme scheme for the first and third stanzas is the same pattern of abababab and the rhyme scheme differs in the middle or of the second stanza that is aabbcded.

Summary of the Poem We are the Music Makers

O'Shaughnessy dedicates his work to the artists, the writers, the painters and the people who have lived in a fantasy and built worlds outside their own. It is one of the most uplifting and hopeful poems about art that has ever been written.

'We are the Music Makers' can be interpreted as a call to the Music Makers of the world to provide entertainment and cut the monotony in the life of people by involving music. Music is a force that is stimulating to our aural senses. Music is a universal language that, in one dialect or another, brings joy and pleasure to everyone. Music is a powerful language, one, we can all relate to, and something that we make because of the pleasure it brings. O'Shaughnessy describes the characters of the Music Makers' who bring music to the lives of people and the life they live, describing the little similarities in the creative entertainers.
The poem is a narration and declaration of the identities of the ingenious 'Music Makers'. The theme of the poem is diversity, no matter how similar the *Music Makers are in the poem; there are multitude differences in the style of each music maker thus accomplishing the goal of making music for its audience.

One of the ideas of the poem is to display how different is the life of the talented music makers from the people busy in the usual hustle-bustle of the world. There is a poetic feeling created by O'Shaughnessy in 'We the Music Makers' through the description and the rhyming pattern of the poem.

Throughout the poem, there has been an emphasis on the lives of the music makers and their capabilities, which could be seen as an impossible feat for regular workers. Apart from focusing on the lives of the creators, there has been a mention of famous works by the creators, which have had an impact on the people just like the Music Makers' have.

Critical Analysis of We are the Music Makers

'We the Music Makers' written by Arthur William Edgar O'Shaughnessy is a poem consisting of three stanzas, each stanza containing eight lines. By the first stanza, Arthur O'Shaughnessy wants to make it clear that to be an artist, it requires sacrifice and very often, that sacrifice is by living away from society. It is almost necessary to be external to human error and strife to see the beauty in human nature. Despite the fact that most artists are beyond the reach of society, Arthur O'Shaughnessy wants to make it clear that this in no way means that they are forgotten, or easily replaced. The poet believes that the group of music makers is huge, each trying his/her best in all situations to illuminate the world by his or her music and spread joy. The poet envisages the music makers to opt-out of the rat race to pursue their dreams.
In the second stanza, O'Shaughnessy states the majesty of what artists manage to do - "With wonderful deathless ditties...We built up the world's great cities...And out of a fabulous story...We fashion an empire's glory”. Thus, the poem celebrates something that is innate to creation: fantasy, and the wielding of stories to push society forward. This poem wants to make it very clear that artists have been the cause of society moving forward. In the third stanza, O'Shaughnessy lauds once more the power of artists. He refers to the city of Babel and Nineveh, lending the idea of art as an almost divine creation that in itself creates divinity. Art is, therefore, unkillable. Art is what is left of the world - dreams, and music.

"We are the music-makers...And we are the dreamers of dreams" gives a positive glow and indicates the significance of not just individuals but all of us: no matter how much we may embarrass ourselves and sometimes feel unheard of or unrepresented.


sea breaker - a heavy sea wave broken into foam against the shore:
desolate - showing emptiness and loneliness;
forsake - to give up or leave something entirely:
gleam - shine with a pale or faint light;
mover and shaker - an influential person active in a field of endeavor;
ditties - short simple songs:
trample - crush;
sighing - exhaling audible deep breath expressing sorrow or tiredness:
mirth - laughter;
prophesy - a prediction or utterance with divine knowledge.

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