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Ode (We are the music makers) Summary & Analysis
by Arthur O'Shaughnessy

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English poet Arthur O'Shaughnessy's most famous work by far, "Ode (We are the music makers)" has become a touchstone for idealists and dreamers since its first publication in 1873. In this poem, a chorus of artists sing of themselves and their role as revolutionary seers. Artists, the poem suggests, are both the predictors and the creators of glorious new futures. Through their prophetic imaginations, they foresee the change they go on to inspire. As such, they are "the movers and shakers" of history—or, in the earlier poet Shelley's words, "the unacknowledged legislators of the world."

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