Opening Lines

Of Mans First Disobedience, and the Fruit
Of that Forbidden Tree, whose mortal taste…
— from Paradise lost by John Milton

Call me Ishmael.
— from Moby-Dick by Herman Melville

Ye who listen with credulity to the whispers of fancy,
and pursue with eagerness the phantoms of hope;
who expect that age will perform the promises of youth,
and that the deficiencies of the present day will be
supplied by the morrow, attend to the history of Rasselas…
— from Rasselas by Samuel Johnson

In pious times, ere priestcraft did begin,
Before polygamy was made a sin;
When man on many multiplied his kind,
Ere one to one was cursedly confined;
When nature prompted, and no law denied
Promiscuous use of concubine and bride…
— from Absalom and Achitophel by John Dryden

Yes, he was the most beautiful Prince
that ever was born.
— from The Little Lame Prince by Miss Mulock

ONCE there was a gentleman who married, for his second wife,
the proudest and most haughty woman that was ever seen.
— from Cinderella [It has no true author: it dates
back to the 9th century, possibly further, and was
told orally (not written down) for millenniums]

Alice was beginning to get very tired of sitting by her sister
on the bank, and of having nothing to do: once or twice she had
peeped into the book her sister was reading, but it had no
pictures or conversations in it, `and what is the use of a book,’
thought Alice `without pictures or conversation?’
— from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

WHAT dire Offence from am’rous Causes springs,
What mighty Contests rise from trivial Things…
— from The Rape of the Lock by Alexander Pope


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