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Below are famous passages from history and literature which we invite
you to read in standard block text, and then click the
accompanying link to read the same passages converted to Live Ink.
From the introduction to Democracy in America, by Alexis de Tocqueville
AMONG the novel objects that attracted my attention during my stay in the
United States, nothing struck me more forcibly than the general equality of condition
among the people. I readily discovered the prodigious influence that this primary
fact exercises on the whole course of society; it gives a peculiar direction to
public opinion and a peculiar tenor to the laws; it imparts new maxims to the governing
authorities and peculiar habits to the governed.
I soon perceived that the influence of this fact extends far beyond the political
character and the laws of the country, and that it has no less effect on civil society
than on the government; it creates opinions, gives birth to new sentiments, founds
novel customs, and modifies whatever it does not produce. The more I
advanced in the study of American society, the more I perceived that this equality
of condition is the fundamental fact from which all others seem to be derived
and the central point at which all my observations constantly terminated.
Psalm 23, King James version
The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He
maketh me to lie down in green pastures; He leadeth me beside the still waters. He
restoreth my soul; He
leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His name's sake. Yea, though I walk
through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for Thou art with
me; Thy rod and Thy staff, they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the
presence of mine enemies; Thou anointest my head with oil; my cup
runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and
I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.
Preamble to the Declaration of Independence
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 the earth, the separate and equal station to which the
Laws 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.
From Lincoln's 2nd Inaugural Address
Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may
speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by
the bondsman's two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and
until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn
with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be
said "the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether."
With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as
God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up
the nation's wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his
widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting
peace among ourselves and with all nations.
Prologue to Romeo and Juliet, by William Shakespeare
Two households, both alike in dignity,
In fair Verona, where we lay our scene,
From ancient grudge break to new mutiny,
Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean.
From forth the fatal loins of these two foes
A pair of star-cross'd lovers take their life;
Whole misadventured piteous overthrows
Do with their death bury their parents' strife.
The fearful passage of their death-mark'd love,
And the continuance of their parents' rage,
Which, but their children's end, nought could remove,
Is now the two hours' traffic of our stage;
The which if you with patient ears attend,
What here shall miss, our toil shall strive to mend.
From the beginning of Alice in Wonderland, by Lewis Carroll
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?'
So she was considering in her own mind (as well as she could, for the hot day made
her feel very sleepy and stupid), whether the pleasure of making a
daisy-chain would be worth the trouble of getting up and picking the daisies, when
suddenly a White Rabbit with pink eyes ran close by her.
From the opening of Oliver Twist, by Charles Dickens
Among other public buildings in a certain town, which for many reasons it will be
prudent to refrain from mentioning, and to which I will assign no fictitious
name, there is one anciently common to most towns, great or small: to wit, a
workhouse; and in this workhouse was born; on a day and date which I need not
trouble myself to repeat, inasmuch as it can be of no possible consequence to the
reader, in this stage of the business at all events; the item of mortality whose
name is prefixed to the head of this chapter.
For a long time after it was ushered into this world of sorrow and trouble, by
the parish surgeon, it remained a matter of considerable doubt whether the child
could survive to bear any name at all; in which case it is somewhat more than probable
that these memoirs would never have appeared; or, if they had, that being
comprised within a couple of pages, they would have possessed the inestimable merit
of being the most concise and faithful specimen of biography, extant in the
literature of any age or country.
Although I am not disposed to maintain that the being born in a workhouse, is in
itself the most fortunate and enviable circumstance that can possibly befall a
human being, I do mean to say that in this particular instance, it was the best
thing for Oliver Twist that could by possibility have occurred. The fact is, that there
was considerable difficulty in inducing Oliver to take upon himself the office of
respiration, -- a troublesome practice, but one which custom has rendered
necessary to our easy existence; and for some time he lay gasping on a little
flock mattress, rather unequally poised between this world and the next: the balance
being decidedly in favour of the latter.
From the beginning of Treasure Island, by Robert Louis Stevenson
SQUIRE TRELAWNEY, Dr. Livesey, and the rest of these gentlemen having asked me to
write down the whole particulars about Treasure Island, from the
beginning to the end, keeping nothing back but the bearings of the island, and that
only because there is still treasure not yet lifted, I take up my pen in the year of
grace 17__ and go back to the time when my father kept the Admiral Benbow inn and
the brown old seaman with the sabre cut first took up his lodging under
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