|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from Fables by Robert Louis Stevenson:
any man, he showed the bright sword naked; and at that the gyve on
the man's ankle rang, and answered in his stead; and the word was
still STRAIGHT ON. But the man, when his gyve spoke, spat and
struck at Jack, and threw stones at him as he went away; so that
his head was broken.
So he came to that wood, and entered in, and he was aware of a
house in a low place, where funguses grew, and the trees met, and
the steaming of the marsh arose about it like a smoke. It was a
fine house, and a very rambling; some parts of it were ancient like
the hills, and some but of yesterday, and none finished; and all
the ends of it were open, so that you could go in from every side.
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from Adam Bede by George Eliot:
I hanna had a talk with you this long while, and the missis here
wants you to see what can be done with her best spinning-wheel,
for it's got broke, and it'll be a nice job to mend it--there'll
want a bit o' turning. You'll come as soon as you can now, will
Mr. Poyser paused and looked round while he was speaking, as if to
see where Hetty was; for the children were running on before.
Hetty was not without a companion, and she had, besides, more pink
and white about her than ever, for she held in her hand the
wonderful pink-and-white hot-house plant, with a very long name--a
Scotch name, she supposed, since people said Mr. Craig the
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from The Wrecker by Stevenson & Osbourne:
the open secret of the ring, were now all equally and
simultaneously taken aback.
"I beg your pardon," said the auctioneer. "Anybody bid?"
"And fifty," reiterated the voice, which I was now able to trace
to its origin, on the lips of a small, unseemly rag of human-
kind. The speaker's skin was gray and blotched; he spoke in a
kind of broken song, with much variety of key; his gestures
seemed (as in the disease called Saint Vitus's dance) to be
imperfectly under control; he was badly dressed; he carried
himself with an air of shrinking assumption, as though he were
proud to be where he was and to do what he was doing, and yet
|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 Essays & Lectures by Oscar Wilde:
Nothing, indeed, is more dangerous to the young artist than any
conception of ideal beauty: he is constantly led by it either into
weak prettiness or lifeless abstraction: whereas to touch the
ideal at all you must not strip it of vitality. You must find it
in life and re-create it in art.
While, then, on the one hand I do not desire to give you any
philosophy of beauty - for, what I want to-night is to investigate
how we can create art, not how we can talk of it - on the other
hand, I do not wish to deal with anything like a history of English
To begin with, such an expression as English art is a meaningless