Brain Teaser – First Lines

This week’s brainteaser is about the first lines of books, poems, etc.  Need help?  Try Credo Reference.

1. Which novel by Jane Austen starts with this line: “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife”?

2. Name the author of the poem “Slough” with its notorious first line: “Come, friendly bombs, and fall on Slough!”

3. “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?” is the first line of a sonnet by which writer?

4. Which novel by Daphne du Maurier begins with the line “Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again”?

5. Which 1872 novel by Thomas Hardy used as its title the first line of a song in Shakespeare’s “As You Like It”.

6. “She dwelt among the untrodden ways” is the first line of part of a poem called “Lucy”. Who wrote it?

7. Which book by Kenneth Grahame begins: “The Mole had been working very hard all the morning, spring-cleaning his little home”?

8. “I sing the body electric” is the first line of a poem by Walt Whitman. Can you name the US writer who used that line as the title of a 1969 collection of short stories ?

9. Which novel by Leo Tolstoy begins: “Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way”?

10. Who wrote the 1840 poem “Sordello” which begins: ‘Who will, may hear Sordello’s story told”?

Questions set by Tony Augarde (


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