|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from Fisherman's Luck by Henry van Dyke:
Venetian politics. It was simply because December, with all its
domestic joys, is practically a dead month in the angler's calendar.
His occupation is gone. The better sort of fish are out of season.
The trout are lean and haggard: it is no trick to catch them and no
treat to eat them. The salmon, all except the silly kelts, have run
out to sea, and the place of their habitation no man kno his goings, that only three
other writers, so far as I know, have ever spoken ill of him.
is nothing for the angler to do but wait for the return of spring,
and meanwhile encourage and sustain his patience with such small
consolations in kind as a friendly Providence may put within his
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from Moby Dick by Herman Melville:
reveries. Some leaning against the spiles; some seated upon the
pier-heads; some looking over the bulwarks of ships from China; some
high aloft in the rigging, as if striving to get a still better
seaward peep. But these are all landsmen; of week days pent up in
lath and plaster--tied to counters, nailed to benches, clinched to
desks. How then is this? Are the green fields gone? What do they
But look! here come more crowds, pacing straight for the water, and
seemingly bound for a dive. Strange! Nothing will content them but
the extremest limit of the land; loitering under the shady lee of
yonder warehouses will not suffice. No. They must get just as nigh
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from Maitre Cornelius by Honore de Balzac:
the courtyards of all provincial houses, was narrow and dark. At the
farther end, through an iron railing, could be seen a wretched garden
in which nothing grew but the mulberries which Cornelius had
introduced. The young nobleman took note of all this through the
loopholes on the spiral staircase, the moon casting, fortunately, a
brilliant light. A cot, a stool, a mismatched pitcher and basin formed
the entire furniture of the room. The light could enter only through
square openings, placed at intervals in the outside wall of the tower,
according, no doubt, to the exterior ornamentation.
"Here is your lodging," said Cornelius; "it is plain and solid and
contains all that is needed for sleep. Good night! Do not leave this
|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 Laches by Plato:
will make the coward rash, and subject the courageous, if he chance to make
a slip, to invidious remarks. And now let Socrates be taken into counsel.
As they differ he must decide.
Socrates would rather not decide the question by a plurality of votes: in
such a serious matter as the education of a friend's children, he would
consult the one skilled person who has had masters, and has works to show
as evidences of his skill. This is not himself; for he has never been able
to pay the sophists for instructing him, and has never had the wit to do or
discover anything. But Nicias and Laches are older and richer than he is:
they have had teachers, and perhaps have made discoveries; and he would
have trusted them entirely, if they had not been diametrically opposed.