|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from Timaeus by Plato:
the Timaeus retains traces of the first Greek prose composition; for the
great master of language was speaking on a theme with which he was
imperfectly acquainted, and had no words in which to express his meaning.
The rugged grandeur of the opening discourse of Timaeus may be compared
with the more harmonious beauty of a similar passage in the Phaedrus.
To the same cause we may attribute the want of plan. Plato had not the
command of his materials which would have enabled him to produce a perfect
work of art. Hence there are several new beginnings and resumptions and
formal or artificial connections; we miss the 'callida junctura' of the
earlier dialogues. His speculations about the Eternal, his theories of
creation, his mathematical anticipations, are supplemented by desultory
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from Amy Foster by Joseph Conrad:
are possessed of a knowledge beyond the compre-
hension of the living. I wonder whether the mem-
ory of her compassion prevented him from cutting
his throat. But there! I suppose I am an old sen-
timentalist, and forget the instinctive love of life
which it takes all the strength of an uncommon de-
spair to overcome.
"He did the work which was given him with an
intelligence which surprised old Swaffer. By-and-
by it was discovered that he could help at the
ploughing, could milk the cows, feed the bullocks
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from Through the Looking-Glass by Lewis Carroll:
`When I make a word do a lot of work like that,' said Humpty
Dumpty, `I always pay it extra.'
`Oh!' said Alice. She was too much puzzled to make any other
`Ah, you should see 'em come round me of a Saturday night,'
Humpty Dumpty went on, wagging his head gravely from side to
side: `for to get their wages, you know.'
(Alice didn't venture to ask what he paid them with; and so you
see I can't tell YOU.)
`You seem very clever at explaining words, Sir,' said Alice.
`Would you kindly tell me the meaning of the poem called
Through the Looking-Glass
|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 The Country of the Pointed Firs by Sarah Orne Jewett:
back departin' among the wild rose bushes, I just ran to her an'
caught her in my arms. I wasn't so big as I be now, and she was
older than me, but I hugged her tight, just as if she was a child.
'Oh, Joanna dear,' I says, 'won't you come ashore an' live 'long o'
me at the Landin', or go over to Green Island to mother's when
winter comes? Nobody shall trouble you an' mother finds it hard
bein' alone. I can't bear to leave you here'--and I burst right
out crying. I'd had my own trials, young as I was, an' she knew
it. Oh, I did entreat her; yes, I entreated Joanna."
"What did she say then?" asked Mrs. Fosdick, much moved.
"She looked the same way, sad an' remote through it all," said