|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from Phaedrus by Plato:
and write about poems and paintings, but we seem to have lost the gift of
creating them. Can we wonder that few of them 'come sweetly from nature,'
while ten thousand reviewers (mala murioi) are engaged in dissecting them?
Young men, like Phaedrus, are enamoured of their own literary clique and
have but a feeble sympathy with the master-minds of former ages. They
recognize 'a POETICAL necessity in the writings of their favourite author,
even when he boldly wrote off just what came in his head.' They are
beginning to think that Art is enough, just at the time when Art is about
to disappear from the world. And would not a great painter, such as
Michael Angelo, or a great poet, such as Shakespeare, returning to earth,
'courteously rebuke' us--would he not say that we are putting 'in the place
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from Through the Looking-Glass by Lewis Carroll:
`When you say "hill,"' the Queen interrupted, `_I_ could show
you hills, in comparison with which you'd call that a valley.'
`No, I shouldn't,' said Alice, surprised into contradicting her
at last: `a hill CAN'T be a valley, you know. That would be
The Red Queen shook her head, `You may call it "nonsense" if
you like,' she said, `but I'VE heard nonsense, compared with
which that would be as sensible as a dictionary!'
Alice curtseyed again, as she was afraid from the Queen's tone
that she was a LITTLE offended: and they walked on in silence
till they got to the top of the little hill.
Through the Looking-Glass
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from Oscar Wilde Miscellaneous by Oscar Wilde:
occasion, those who disliked the play and its author being
hypnotised by the extraordinary power of Mr. Robert Farquharson's
Herod, one of the finest pieces of acting ever seen in this country.
My friends the dramatic critics (and many of them are personal
friends) fell on Salome with all the vigour of their predecessors
twelve years before. Unaware of what was taking place in Germany,
they spoke of the play as having been 'dragged from obscurity.' The
Official Receiver in Bankruptcy and myself were, however, better
informed. And much pleasure has been derived from reading those
criticisms, all carefully preserved along with the list of receipts
which were simultaneously pouring in from the German performances.
|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 Soul of a Bishop by H. G. Wells:
aggressiveness, and there sprang up no less than three
ecclesiastical scandals in the diocese. First, the Kensitites set
themselves firmly to make presentations and prosecutions against
Morrice Deans, who was reserving the sacrament, wearing, they
said, "Babylonish garments," going beyond all reason in the
matter of infant confession, and generally brightening up Mogham
Banks; next, a popular preacher in Wombash, published a book
under the exasperating title, "The Light Under the Altar," in
which he showed himself as something between an Arian and a
Pantheist, and treated the dogma of the Trinity with as little
respect as one would show to an intrusive cat; while thirdly, an