|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from Ferragus by Honore de Balzac:
Macaire; but his heart is ossified in the matter of real dead men.
Dead men are ciphers, numbers, to him; it is his business to organize
death. Yet he does meet, three times in a century, perhaps, with an
occasion when his part becomes sublime, and then he /is/ sublime
through every hour of his day,--in times of pestilence.
When Jacquet approached him this absolute monarch was evidently out of
"I told you," he was saying, "to water the flowers from the rue
Massena to the place Regnault de Saint-Jean-d'Angely. You paid no
attention to me! /Sac-a-papier/! suppose the relations should take it
into their heads to come here to-day because the weather is fine, what
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from Statesman by Plato:
example. We may compare the state to a web, and I will show you how the
different threads are drawn into one. You would admit--would you not?--
that there are parts of virtue (although this position is sometimes
assailed by Eristics), and one part of virtue is temperance, and another
courage. These are two principles which are in a manner antagonistic to
one another; and they pervade all nature; the whole class of the good and
beautiful is included under them. The beautiful may be subdivided into two
lesser classes: one of these is described by us in terms expressive of
motion or energy, and the other in terms expressive of rest and quietness.
We say, how manly! how vigorous! how ready! and we say also, how calm! how
temperate! how dignified! This opposition of terms is extended by us to
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from The Mayor of Casterbridge by Thomas Hardy:
"Once more--be in time to-morrow morning. You see what's to
be done, and you hear what I say, and you know I'm not going
to be trifled with any longer."
"Yes, sir." Then Abel Whittle left, and Henchard and
Farfrae; and Elizabeth saw no more of them.
Now there was good reason for this command on Henchard's
part. Poor Abel, as he was called, had an inveterate habit
of over-sleeping himself and coming late to his work. His
anxious will was to be among the earliest; but if his
comrades omitted to pull the string that he always tied
The Mayor of Casterbridge
|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 Door in the Wall, et. al. by H. G. Wells:
reflections of the brooding trees upon the bank. He waded until he
swam, and so he crossed the pond and came out upon the other side,
trailing, as it seemed to him, not duckweed, but very silver in
long, clinging, dripping masses. And up he went through the
transfigured tangles of the willow-herb and the uncut seeding grass
of the farther bank. And so he came glad and breathless into the
highroad. "I am glad," he said, "beyond measure, that I had
clothes that fitted this occasion."
The highroad ran straight as an arrow flies, straight into the
deep blue pit of sky beneath the moon, a white and shining road
between the singing nightingales, and along it he went, running now