Introduction

The poem, “We are the Music Makers”, written by Arthur O’Shaughnessy is an ode (dedication) to all the artists and writers in the world. He talks about how all artists create their art which is immortal for all ages to come. The poem focuses on how these artists and creators of the art are badly treated by everyone when it’s them who who fulfill all dreams. 

Stanza 1

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. 

In the first stanza, the poet talks about music makers and dreamers of dreams, denoting all the artists and writers of the world. He says how such people are neglected by the society and they are found all alone by desolate streams. The whole world thinks that artists and writers and musicians are all losers, without realizing that they are actually the ones who create a change in the society. The world is surviving on the art they create. They are the ones who are bringing changes in the society through their music or painting and so on. 

Stanza 2

With wonderful deathless ditties 
We build up the world’s greatest 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 for a new song’s measure
Can trample a kingdom down. 

In the second stanza,  the poet says that all the artists and writers of the world go on to create deathless ditties(a short simple song) and fabulous story to share with everyone. Through their creation, they create cities and empires which are to continue living through generations.

It is up to the creators will either to create a town and conquer (win) a crown or they can destroy a kingdom completely. According to the proverb, the pen is mightier than the sword, artists of the world have the power to create new wonderful creations through their writings or work and they can even bring down  and destroy everything in a single line. 

Stanza 3

We, in the ages lying,
In the buried past of the earth, 
Built Nineveh with our singing, 
And Babel itself in 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. 

In the third stanza, the poet talks about all the creations created by artists over generations and how their art is still immortal. According to the stories, Babel is a huge tower which was once created by people to reach God. When God saw the determination and unity of the people to reach the same level as the God by creating a tower, he divided all of the people by giving them different languages, so they are unable to understand each other.

Even if they were unable to build the tower, the story is passed down generation after generation through writings and art. Nineveh is a beautiful city which was destroyed by an earthquake. Had it not been for all the artists of the world, no one would have remembered the city. They once again created Nineveh with our saying.

The poet says that an artist can die but art can never be obliterated (destroyed). Art is what keeps people alive ages after ages. A dream that is dying is giving birth to a new dream. Art paves (creates) the way for people and artists are the creations of such immortality. 

Conclusion

In this poem, the poet has highlighted the fact that though all te artists of the world are looked down upon, they are the ones who keep the world alive through their work. Art can never be destroyed even if the artist perishes (dies).