|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from Montezuma's Daughter by H. Rider Haggard:
a fatalist, a belief which I do not altogether share, holding as I
do that within certain limits we are allowed to shape our own
characters and destinies. But his last sayings I believe to be
true. God is and is merciful, and death is not terrible either in
its act or in its consequence.
Presently Fonseca spoke again. 'Why do you lead me to talk of such
things? They weary me and I have little time. I was telling of my
will. Nephew, listen. Except certain sums that I have given to be
spent in charities--not in masses, mind you--I have left you all I
'You have left it to ME!' I said astonished.
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from Songs of Travel by Robert Louis Stevenson:
Contending roots fought for the soil
Like frightened demons: with despair
Competing branches pushed for air.
Green conquerors from overhead
Bestrode the bodies of their dead:
The Caesars of the sylvan field,
Unused to fail, foredoomed to yield:
For in the groins of branches, lo!
The cancers of the orchid grow.
Silent as in the listed ring
Two chartered wrestlers strain and cling;
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from Laches by Plato:
SOCRATES: But then, my dear friend, if a man knew all good and evil, and
how they are, and have been, and will be produced, would he not be perfect,
and wanting in no virtue, whether justice, or temperance, or holiness? He
would possess them all, and he would know which were dangers and which were
not, and guard against them whether they were supernatural or natural; and
he would provide the good, as he would know how to deal both with gods or
NICIAS: I think, Socrates, that there is a great deal of truth in what you
SOCRATES: But then, Nicias, courage, according to this new definition of
yours, instead of being a part of virtue only, will be all virtue?
|The fourth excerpt represents the element of Earth. It speaks of physical influences and the impact of the unseen on the visible world, and is drawn from A Voyage to Arcturus by David Lindsay:
thinking me a demon sent by Shaping, to destroy the work of this
land. But a seed will escape, and my blood and yours, Tydomin, will
wash it. Then men will know that my destroying evil is their
greatest good. But none here will live to see that."
Maskull now went quite close to Catice, and offered his head. Catice
raised his hand, and after holding the flint poised for a moment,
brought it down with adroitness and force upon the left-hand probe.
Maskull cried out with the pain. The blood streamed down, and the
function of the organ was destroyed.
There was a pause, while he walked to and fro, trying to staunch the