|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from Philebus by Plato:
opinion of the world. Whatever may be the hypothesis on which they are
explained, or which in doubtful cases may be applied to the regulation of
them, we are very rarely, if ever, called upon at the moment of performing
them to determine their effect upon the happiness of mankind.
There is a theory which has been contrasted with Utility by Paley and
others--the theory of a moral sense: Are our ideas of right and wrong
innate or derived from experience? This, perhaps, is another of those
speculations which intelligent men might 'agree to discard.' For it has
been worn threadbare; and either alternative is equally consistent with a
transcendental or with an eudaemonistic system of ethics, with a greatest
happiness principle or with Kant's law of duty. Yet to avoid
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from The Deputy of Arcis by Honore de Balzac:
"The stranger told me--"
"The man after water?"
"My dear Vinet, you and I are not to know; we must treat him as a
stranger. He saw your father at Provins as he came through. Just now
this same man gave me a note from the prefect instructing me to follow
in every particular the instructions of Comte Maxime about this
election. I knew very well I should have a battle to fight! Come and
dine somewhere and we will get out our batteries. You are to be
/procureur-du-roi/ at Mantes, and I am to be prefect; but we must
/seem/ to have nothing to do with the election, for don't you see, we
are between the hammer and the anvil. Simon is the candidate of a
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from The Divine Comedy (translated by H.F. Cary) by Dante Alighieri:
Onor d'imperadori e di poeti.
And Spenser, F. Q. b. i. c. 1. st. 9,
The laurel, meed of mighty conquerours
And poets sage.
v. 37. Through that.] "Where the four circles, the horizon, the
zodiac, the equator, and the equinoctial colure, join; the last
threeintersecting each other so as to form three crosses, as may
be seen in the armillary sphere."
v. 39. In happiest constellation.] Aries. Some understand the
planetVenus by the "miglior stella "
v. 44. To the left.] Being in the opposite hemisphere to ours,
The Divine Comedy (translated by H.F. Cary)
|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 Lesson of the Master by Henry James:
solitary possession, for some minutes, of the warm deserted rooms
where the covered tinted lamplight was soft, the seats had been
pushed about and the odour of flowers lingered. They were large,
they were pretty, they contained objects of value; everything in
the picture told of a "good house." At the end of five minutes a
servant came in with a request from the Master that he would join
him downstairs; upon which, descending, he followed his conductor
through a long passage to an apartment thrown out, in the rear of
the habitation, for the special requirements, as he guessed, of a
busy man of letters.
St. George was in his shirt-sleeves in the middle of a large high