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BOOKS (FIRST LINES)
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[ Also see Books Books (Last Lines) Books (Quotes) Quotations ]

Few have been in my secret while I was compiling these narratives, nor is it probable that they will ever become public during the life of their author.
      - Sir Walter Scott, The Bride of Lammermoor [1819]

Harp of the North! that mouldering long hast hung
  On the witch-elm that shades Saint Fillan's spring
    And down the fitful breeze thy numbers flung,
      Till envious ivy did around thee cling,
        Muffling with verdant ringlet every string,--
          Mid rustling leaves and fountains murmuring,
            Still must thy sweeter sounds their silence keep,
              Nor bid a warrior smile, nor teach a maid to weep?
      - Sir Walter Scott, The Lady of the Lake [1810]
         (canto I)

The burning sun of the Syria had not yet attained its highest point in the horizon, when a knight of the Red Cross, who had left his distant northern home and joined the host of the Crusaders in Palestine, was pacing slowly along the sandy deserts which lie in the vicinity of the Dead Sea, or, as it is called the Lake Asphaltites, where the waves of the Jordan pour themselves into an inland sea, from which there is no discharge of waters.
      - Sir Walter Scott, The Talisman [1825],
        part of Tales of the Crusaders

There is a handsome parish church in the town of Woodstock,--I am told so, at least, for I never saw it, having scarce time, when at the place, to view the magnificence of Blenheim, its painted halls and tapestried bowers, and then return in due season to dine in hall with my learned friend, the provost of ----; being one of those occasions on which a man wrongs himself extremely, if he lets his curiosity interfere with his punctuality.
      - Sir Walter Scott, Woodstock [1826]

'I suppose I have hated her from the first moment I say her,' Monica Wilmott heard herself saying, and she saw Hester as she had first seen her, sitting in the open window of the Chelsea drawing-room against the background of the river; extraordinarily quiet, extraordinarily assured, with black eyebrows and a thin black cloak lined with red.
      - Anne Douglas Sedgwick (Mrs. Basil de Selincourt),
        Dark Hester [1929] (ch. 1)

It was the evening of Madame Okraska's concert at the old St. James's Hall. London was still the place of the muffled roar and the endearing ugliness.
      - Anne Douglas Sedgwick (Mrs. Basil de Selincourt),
        Tante [1911] (pt. 1, ch. 1)

A clock struck eight, a loud yet distant clock. The strokes, Alix thought, seemed to glide downwards rather than to fall through the fog and tumult of the station, and, counting them as they emerged, they were so slow and heavy that they made her think of tawny drones pushing their way forth from among the thickets of hot thyme in the jardin potager at Montarel.
      - Anne Douglas Sedgwick (Mrs. Basil de Selincourt),
        The Little French Girl [1924] (pt. 1, ch. 1)

"You are an artist, Monsieur?"
      - Anne Douglas Sedgwick (Mrs. Basil de Selincourt),
        The Old Countess [1927] (ch. 1)

A great broad web of satin, shining white, and, strewn across, long clumps and trailing wreaths of lilac, almost white, wistaria bloom,--pendent, shining and so delicately wrought in palest silk that still the web was white; and in and out and trailed across, now lost, now plain, two slender, twining, intertwining chains of golden thread.
      - Ernest Thompson Seton, Lives of the Hunted [1901]
         (Krag, the Kootenay Ram)

Currumpaw is a vast cattle range in northern New Mexico. It is a land of rich pastures and teeming flocks and herds, an land of rolling mesas and precious running waters that at length unite in the Currumpay River, from which the whole region is named. And the king whose despotic power was felt over its entire extent was an old gray wolf.
      - Ernest Thompson Seton,
        Wild Animals I Have Known [1898]

The first place that I can well remember was a large pleasant meadow with a pond clear water in it. Some shady trees leaned over it, and rushes and water-lilies grew at the deep end.
      - Anna Sewell, Black Beauty [1877] (pt. 1, ch. 1)

Now, fair Hippolyta, our nuptial hour
  Draws on apace. Four happy days bring in
    Another moon; but O, methinks, how slow
      This old moon wanes! She lingers my desires,
        Like to a stepdame or a dowager,
          Long withering our a young man's revenue.
      - William Shakespeare,
        A Midsummer Night's Dream
         (Theseus at I, i)

In delivering my son from me I bury a second husband.
      - William Shakespeare,
        All's Well That Ends Well
         (Countess of Rossillion at I, i)

Nay, but this dotage of our general's
  O'erflows the measure: those his goodly eyes
    That o'er the files and musters of war
      Have glowed like plated Mars, now bend, now turn
        The office and devotion of their view
          Upon a tawny front.
      - William Shakespeare, Antony and Cleopatra
         (Philo at I, i)

As I remember, Adam, it was upon this fashion bequeathed me by will but poor a thousand crowns, and, as thou say'st, charged my brother on his blessing to breed me well: and there begins my sadness.
      - William Shakespeare, As You Like It
         (Orlando at I, i)

Before we proceed any further, hear me speak.
      - William Shakespeare, Coriolanus
         (First Citizen at I, i)

You do not meet a man but frowns. Our bloods
  No more obey the heavens than our courtiers
    Still seem as does the King's.
      - William Shakespeare, Cymbeline
         (Gentleman at I, i)

Who's there?
      - William Shakespeare,
        Hamlet Prince of Denmark
         (Bernardo at I, i)

Hence! home, you idle creatures, get you home!
  Is this a holiday? What, know you not,
    Being mechanical, you ought not walk
      Upon a laboring day without the sign
        Of your profession? Speak, what trade art thou?
      - William Shakespeare, Julius Caesar
         (Flavius at I, i)

So shaken as we are, so wan with care,
  Find we a time for frighted peace to pant
    And breathe short-winded accents of new broils
      To be commenced in stronds afar remote.
      - William Shakespeare,
        King Henry the Fourth, Part I
         (King Henry at I, i)

Open your ears, for which of you will stop
  The vent of hearing when loud Rumor speaks?
    I, from the orient to the drooping west,
      Making the wind my post-horse, still unfold
        The acts commenced on this ball of earth.
      - William Shakespeare,
        King Henry the Fourth, Part II
         (Rumor at I, i)

Hung be the heavens with black, yield day to night!
  Comets, importing change of times and states,
    Brandish your crystal tresses in the sky
      And with them scourge the bad revolting stars
        That have consented unto Henry's death--
          King Henry the Fifth, too famous to live long!
            England ne'er lost a king of so much worth.
      - William Shakespeare,
        King Henry the Sixth, Part I
         (Bedford at I, i)

As by your high imperial majesty
  I had in charge at my depart for France,
    As procurator to your excellence,
      To marry Princess Margaret for your grace,
        So, in the famous ancient city Tours,
          In presence of the Kings of France and Sicil,
            The Dukes of Orleans, Calabar, Bretagne, and Alencon,
              Seven earls, twelve barons, and twenty reverend bishops,
                I have performed my mask and was espoused; . . . .
      - William Shakespeare,
        King Henry the Sixth, Part II
         (Suffolk at I, i)

I wonder how the king escaped our hands?
      - William Shakespeare,
        King Henry the Sixth, Part III
         (Warwick at I, i)

I thought the King had more affected the Duke of Albany than Cornwall.
      - William Shakespeare, King Lear
         (Kent at I, i)


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