|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from My Bondage and My Freedom by Frederick Douglass:
Baltimore, he was always a sort of hero amongst us, at least till
his Baltimore trip was forgotten. I could never tell him of
anything, or point out anything that struck me as beautiful or
powerful, but that he had seen something in Baltimore far
surpassing it. Even the great house itself, with all its
pictures within, and pillars without, he had the hardihood to say
"was nothing to Baltimore." He bought a trumpet (worth six
pence) and brought it home; told what he had seen in the windows
of stores; that he had heard shooting crackers, and seen
soldiers; that he had seen a steamboat; that there were ships in
Baltimore that could carry four such sloops as the "Sally Lloyd."
My Bondage and My Freedom
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from Aeneid by Virgil:
Repel the Tuscan foes; their city seize;
Protect the Latians in luxurious ease.
This dream all-pow'rful Juno sends; I bear
Her mighty mandates, and her words you hear.
Haste; arm your Ardeans; issue to the plain;
With fate to friend, assault the Trojan train:
Their thoughtless chiefs, their painted ships, that lie
In Tiber's mouth, with fire and sword destroy.
The Latian king, unless he shall submit,
Own his old promise, and his new forget-
Let him, in arms, the pow'r of Turnus prove,
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from Lesser Hippias by Plato:
HIPPIAS: There you are wrong, Socrates; for in so far as Achilles speaks
falsely, the falsehood is obviously unintentional. He is compelled against
his will to remain and rescue the army in their misfortune. But when
Odysseus speaks falsely he is voluntarily and intentionally false.
SOCRATES: You, sweet Hippias, like Odysseus, are a deceiver yourself.
HIPPIAS: Certainly not, Socrates; what makes you say so?
SOCRATES: Because you say that Achilles does not speak falsely from
design, when he is not only a deceiver, but besides being a braggart, in
Homer's description of him is so cunning, and so far superior to Odysseus
in lying and pretending, that he dares to contradict himself, and Odysseus
does not find him out; at any rate he does not appear to say anything to
|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 Symposium by Plato:
are a section of the male follow the male, and while they are young, being
slices of the original man, they hang about men and embrace them, and they
are themselves the best of boys and youths, because they have the most
manly nature. Some indeed assert that they are shameless, but this is not
true; for they do not act thus from any want of shame, but because they are
valiant and manly, and have a manly countenance, and they embrace that
which is like them. And these when they grow up become our statesmen, and
these only, which is a great proof of the truth of what I am saving. When
they reach manhood they are lovers of youth, and are not naturally inclined
to marry or beget children,--if at all, they do so only in obedience to the
law; but they are satisfied if they may be allowed to live with one another