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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 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.

We are the music-makers,

A breath of our inspiration

Is the life of each generation

A wondrous thing of our dreaming

Unearthly, impossible seeming...

The soldier, the king, and the peasant

Are working together in one,

Till our dream shall become their present,

And their work in the world be done.


They had no vision amazing

Of the goodly house they are raising;

They had no divine foreshowing

Of the land to which they are going:

But on one man's soul it hath broken,

A light that doth not depart;

And his look, or a word he hath spoken,

Wrought flame in another man's heart.


And therefore today is thrilling

With a past day's late fulfilling;

And the multitudes are enlisted

In the faith that their fathers resisted,

And, scorning the dream of to-morrow,

Are bringing to pass, as they may,

In the world, for its joy or its sorrow,

The dream that was scorned yesterday.

Great hail! we cry to the comers

From the dazzling unknown shore;

Bring us hither your sun and your summers;

And renew our world as of yore;

You shall teach us your song's new numbers,

And things that we dreamed not before:

Yea, in spite of a dreamer who slumbers,

And a singer who sings no more.

We are the music-makers,

And we are the dreamers of dreams.

Ceaseless and sorrowless we!

The glory about us clinging

Of the glorious futures we see,

Our souls with high music ringing;

O men! It must ever be

That we dwell in our dreaming and singing,

A little apart from ye.


For we are afar with the dawning

And the suns that are not yet high,

And out of the infinite morning

Intrepid you hear us cry

How, spite of your human scorning,

Once more God's future draws nigh,

And already goes forth the warning

That ye of the past must die.

Sadly so many of my 20 have passed on, but thanks to YouTube they can still be discovered and enjoyed. But also, as intimated in the last stansa above, to discover the music makers of tomorrow is indeed an adventure of the mind!

Sheku Kanneh-Mason, winner of BBCs Young Musician 2016. What joy his performance wrought in me as he won playing Shostokovic's

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Edward Elgar's oratorio set to the poem, 'We Are The Music Makers'


E Elgar
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Chapter 1

Adventures chapter 2

Chapter 2

oscar brown

Chapter 3


We are the Music Makers a poem by Arthur O'Shaughnessy (1844-1881)

My Music Makers

Rebels Lane

Adventures of the Mind

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