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Today's Stichomancy for Benjamin Franklin

The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from The Cavalry General by Xenophon:

forces of the city[2]--in dealing with two descriptions of forces single-handed, he and his cavalry must look for a desperate adventure; or to take the converse case, that the enemy invades the soil of Attica, to begin with, he will not invade at all, unless supported by other cavalry besides his own and an infantry force sufficient to warrant the supposition that no force on our side can cope with him.

[1] The reference is doubtless to the Thebans. Unfortunately we do not know, on good authority, how many troops of either arm they had in the field at Leuctra or at Mantinea.

[2] Lit. "without the rest of the city," i.e. the hoplites, etc.

Now, to deal with this vast hostile array, if only the city will

The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from The Works of Samuel Johnson by Samuel Johnson:

in a course of life in which little can be ascertained by previous measures; nor is it any wonder that their time is passed between elation and despondency, hope and disappointment.

Some there are who appear to walk the road of life with more circumspection, and make no step till they think themselves secure from the hazard of a precipice, when neither pleasure nor profit can tempt them from the beaten path; who refuse to climb lest they should fall, or to run lest they should stumble, and move slowly forward without any

The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from Montezuma's Daughter by H. Rider Haggard:

thine own heart, who shall not fear nor falter, who shall toil and not be weary, who shall lead thy people as a mother leads her children. Lord of lords, give grace to Guatemoc thy creature, who is our choice. Seal him to thy service, and as thy priest let him sit upon thy earthly throne for his life days. Let thy foes become his footstool, let him exalt thy glory, proclaim thy worship, and protect thy kingdom. Thus have I prayed to thee in the name of the nation. O god, thy will be done!'

When the high priest had made an end of his prayer, the first of the four great electors rose, saying:

'Guatemoc, in the name of god and with the voice of the people of


Montezuma's Daughter
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 Parmenides by Plato:

surprised to find Plato criticizing the very conceptions which have been supposed in after ages to be peculiarly characteristic of him. How can he have placed himself so completely without them? How can he have ever persisted in them after seeing the fatal objections which might be urged against them? The consideration of this difficulty has led a recent critic (Ueberweg), who in general accepts the authorised canon of the Platonic writings, to condemn the Parmenides as spurious. The accidental want of external evidence, at first sight, seems to favour this opinion.

In answer, it might be sufficient to say, that no ancient writing of equal length and excellence is known to be spurious. Nor is the silence of Aristotle to be hastily assumed; there is at least a doubt whether his use