Clifton Park-Halfmoon Public Library
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475 Moe Road, Clifton Park, NY 12065 | (518) 371-8622

About the Obelisk

picture of obelisk The Obelisk in front of the Clifton Park - Halfmoon Public Library is a sculpture called "Beginnings" by Bruno LaVerdiere. The pattern on the sculpture is a series of first lines from famous works.

How many of the first lines in the sculpture can you identify? (See the answers.)

Lines From The Obelisk

  1. "It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen."
  2. "Once there was a tree...and she loved a little boy."
  3. "To anyone who has ever been owned by a cat, it will come as no surprise that there are all sorts of things about your cat you will never, as long as you live, forget."
  4. "Once upon a time, sixty years ago, a little girl lived in the big woods of Wisconsin, in a little gray house made of logs."
  5. "Arma virumque cano, I sing of arms and of men."
  6. "I write this sitting in the kitchen sink."
  7. "The gales tore at him and he felt its bite deep within and he knew that if they did not make landfall in three days they would all be dead."
  8. "Claudia knew she could never pull off the old-fashioned kind of running away."
  9. "What dire offense from am'rous causes springs, what mighty contests rise from trivial things."
  10. "The mole had been working very hard all the morning, spring-cleaning his little home."
  11. "One fish two fish red fish blue fish."
  12. "I was an only child--and so I became an only man."
  13. "The courtship and remarriage of an old widower is always made more difficult when middle-aged children are involved--especially when there are unmarried daughters."
  14. "'Christmas won't be Christmas without any presents,' grumbled Jo, lying on the rug."
  15. "Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again."
  16. "'Who is John Galt?'"
  17. "In the beginning, God created the heaven and earth."
  18. "At supper that night, as many times before, his father said, 'Well, s'pose we go to the picture show."
  19. "Life is difficult."
  20. "There once lived, in a sequestered part of the county of Devonshire, one Mr. Godfrey Nickleby: a worthy gentleman, who, taking it into his head rather late in life that he must get married, and not being young enough or rich enough to aspire to the hand of a lady of fortune, had wedded an old flame out of mere attachement, who in her turn had taken him for the same reason."
  21. "When I stepped out into the bright sunlight from the darkness of the movie house, I had only two things on my mind: Paul Newman and a ride home."
  22. "Scarlett O'Hara was not beautiful, but men seldom realized it when caught by her charm as the Tarleton twins were."
  23. "When I am an old woman I shall wear purple with a red hat which doesn't go, and doesn't suit me."
  24. "Mr. and Mrs. Mallard were looking for a place to live."
  25. "Once upon a time..."
  26. "The boy was tall, dark-haired and left-handed."
  27. "When Mary Lennox was sent to Misselthwaite Manor to live with her uncle everybody said she was the most disagreeable-looking child ever seen."
  28. "High up on the long hill they called the Saddle Back, behind the ranch and the county road, the boy sat his horse, facing east, his eyes dazzled by the rising sun."
  29. "Any time you bite into an apple, you should think about Johnny Appleseed."
  30. "It was not a dark and stormy night."
  31. "In an old house in Paris that was covered with vines lived twelve little girls in two straight lines."
  32. "Oh, what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive."
  33. "In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit."
  34. "In fairy-tales, witches always wear silly black hats and black cloaks, and they ride on broomsticks."
  35. "Because she was only fifteen and busy with her growing up, Lucia's periods of reflection were brief and infrequent; but this morning she felt weighted with responsibility."
  36. "The cosmos is all that is or ever was or ever will be."
  37. "If you are a dreamer, come in."
  38. "Vanity of vanities, all is vanity."
  39. "But, you may say, we asked you to speak about women and fiction--what has that got to do with a room of one's own?"
  40. "This book begins with Chapter 0 for a very important reason. You don't have to read it."
  41. "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope."
  42. "Once upon a time there were four little rabbits, and their names were--Flopsy, Mopsy, Cotton-Tail and Peter."
  43. "Two roads diverged in a yellow wood."
  44. "I'm still haunted by dreams of the time we lived on Mr. Carter's plantation."
  45. "As Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from uneasy dreams, he found himself transformed in his bed into a giant insect."
  46. "Call me Ishmael."
  47. "For a human character to reveal truly exceptional qualities, one must have the good fortune to be able to observe its performance over many years."
  48. "There is a legend about a bird which sings just once in its life, more sweetly than any other creature on the face of the earth."
  49. "Sunday afternoon was clear, and the snow-covered prairie sparkled in the sunshine."
  50. "O for a muse of fire, that would ascend/the brightest heaven of invention,/a kingdom for a stage, princes to act,/and monarchs to behold the swelling scene!"
  51. "The saddest shower of all is the one you take the night before school starts in September."
  52. "My wound is geography."
  53. "It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in the want of a wife."
  54. "The sun sets in the west (just about everyone knows that), but Sunset Towers faced east."
  55. "It was a quiet, sultry afternoon in Auburn."
  56. "In the light of the moon, a little egg lay on a leaf."
  57. "On they went, singing 'Rest Eternal,' and, whenever they stopped, their feet, the horses, and the gusts of wind seemed to carry on their singing."
  58. "The first place that I can well remember was a large pleasant meadow with a pond of clear water in it."
  59. "Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of my own life, or whether that station will be held by anybody else, these pages must show."
  60. "Sunday, 14 June 1942/On Friday, June 12th, I woke up at 6 o'clock and no wonder; it was my birthday."
  61. "In our family, there was no clear line between religion and fly fishing."
  62. "When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation."

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