It is the beginning of "A Tale of Two Cities" by Charles Dickens:
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, it was the winter of despair,
we had everything before us, we had nothing before us,
we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct
the other way--in short, the period was so far like the present
period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its
being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree
of comparison only.
http://www.asmilan.org/teachers/jnewman ... _etext.htm
Remember the episode from Cheers
http://s9000.furman.edu/~ejorgens/cheer ... s/210.html
Frazier gathers his friends in the bar and starts to read aloud to them
the novel "A Tale of Two Cities" by Charles Dickens. As he reads the first couple of lines:
"It was the best of times. It was the worst of times..."
a perplexed Norm asks, "Well, WHICH was it ??"
Cliff makes the comment similar to,
"boy this Dickens character sure liked to cover all bases didn't he?"
Frasier knows he is fighting a losing battle and adlibs:
"And there was a blood thirsty clown,
who beckoned innocent children into the streets and swallowed them whole."
At which point they become interested.