|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from Lady Baltimore by Owen Wister:
voice, lowered to suit the sanctity which the place had for her, began to
tell us very quietly and clearly the story of its early days.
I knew it, or something of it, from books; but from this little lady's
lips it took on a charm and graciousness which made it fresh to me. I
listened attentively, until I felt, without at first seeing the cause,
that dulling of enjoyment, that interference with the receptive
attention, which comes at times to one during the performance of music
when untimely people come in or go out. Next, I knew that our group of
listeners was less compact; and then, as we moved from the first point in
the church to a new one, I saw that Bohm and Charley were dropping
behind, and I lingered, with the intention of bringing them closer.
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from Chita: A Memory of Last Island by Lafcadio Hearn:
them. And lime was poured into the gutters; and huge purifying
fires were kindled after sunset.
The nights began with a black heat;--there were hours when the
acrid air seemed to ferment for stagnation, and to burn the
bronchial tubing;--then, toward morning, it would grow chill with
venomous vapors, with morbific dews,--till the sun came up to
lift the torpid moisture, and to fill the buildings with
oven-glow. And the interminable procession of mourners and
hearses and carriages again began to circulate between the
centres of life and of death;--and long trains and steamships
rushed from the port, with heavy burden of fugitives.
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from The Duchess of Padua by Oscar Wilde:
Worshipping thee I seem to be a god,
And though they give my body to the block,
Yet is my love eternal!
[DUCHESS puts her hands over her face: GUIDO draws them down.]
Sweet, lift up
The trailing curtains that overhang your eyes
That I may look into those eyes, and tell you
I love you, never more than now when Death
Thrusts his cold lips between us: Beatrice,
I love you: have you no word left to say?
Oh, I can bear the executioner,
|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 Moran of the Lady Letty by Frank Norris:
opened a large slit in the carcass below the head. A gush of
entrails started from the slit, and Moran swore under her breath.
"Ease away, quick there! You'll have the mast out of her next--
steady! Hold your spade--what's that?"
Wilbur had nerved himself against the dreadful stench he expected
would issue from the putrid monster, but he was surprised to note
a pungent, sweet, and spicy odor that all at once made thick the
air about him. It was an aromatic smell, stronger than that of
the salt ocean, stronger even than the reek of oil and blubber
from the schooner's waist--sweet as incense, penetrating as attar,
delicious as a summer breeze.