Wednesday, January 4, 2012


Okay, time to match the famous first lines listed in It Was A Dark and Stormy Night with their respective works, although I am sure anyone who was interested has Googled the ones they did not know. It turns out the line “It was a dark and stormy night” made famous by the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest, was also used as the opening line of A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle.

Thank you Amaryllis, Dr. Ngo, and Nenya for your contributions.

  • Call me Ishmael.  Moby Dick
  • Marley was dead, to begin with. A Christmas Carol
  • In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. Genesis
  • There’s my last duchess, painted on the wall . . . My Last Duchess, poem
  • I sing of arms and the man.  The Aeneid
  • Now there arose up a new king over Egypt, who knew not Joseph.   Exodus
  • Happy families are all alike . . . Anna Karenina
  • In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. The Hobbit
  • "Christmas won't be Christmas without any presents.”* Little Women
  • To Sherlock Holmes, she is always the woman. A Scandal in Bohemia
  • In the land of Uz there lived a man whose name was Job. Job
  • The outlook wasn't brilliant for the Mudville Nine that day. Casey at the Bat, poem
  • The Mole had been working very hard all the morning, spring-cleaning his little home. The Wind in the Willows
  • All children, except one, grow up. Peter Pan
  • My mind now turns to stories of bodies changed into new forms. Metamorphoses, Ovid

Poems contributed by Amaryllis:
  • Once upon a midnight dreary, as I pondered weak and weary... The Raven
  • Two roads diverged in a yellow wood... The Road Not Taken
  • Because I could not stop for death... Death
  • In Xanadu did Kubla Khan...  Kubla Khan
  • Let us go then, you and I... The Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock
  • The went to sea in a sieve, they did... The Jumblies
  • I met a traveler from an antique land... Ozymandias
  • Hail to thee, blithe spirit! Bird thou never wert... To A Skylark
  • How do I love thee? Let me count the ways... Sonnet 43 Elizabeth Barrett Browning
  • Oh what can ail thee, knight at arms... La Belle Dame Sans Merci
  • Let me not to the marriage of true minds... Sonnet 116, Shakespeare
  • When I was one-and-twenty... When I Was One-and-Twenty
  • Listen, my children, and you shall hear... Paul Revere’s Ride
  • So. The Spear-Danes, in days gone by... Beowolf
I must admit, I thought the line for The Jumblies belonged to Winken, Blinken, and Nod.

This one from dr ngo, which I had to Google:
  • He was born with the gift of laughter, and a sense that the world was mad. Scaramouche (I was way off with my guess of Pudd'nhead Wilson.)

And finally, from Nenya:
  • It was the best of times; it was the worst of times. A Tale of Two Cities
  • It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife. Pride and Prejudice
  • In the beginning was the Word... The Gospel of John
  • It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen. 1984


  1. "It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen."

    I know that that's 1984. But I always want to answer, The Thirteen Clocks. Which is an entirely different kettle of fish:

    "Once upon a time, in a gloomy castle on a lonely hill, where there were thirteen clocks that wouldn't go, there lived a cold, aggressive Duke, and his niece, the Princess Saralinda."

  2. I'm surprised that I actually knew that "It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen" went with 1984. It's been decades since I read it.