|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from On the Origin of Species by Charles Darwin:
of European genera, found in Australia, but not in the intermediate torrid
regions. In the admirable 'Introduction to the Flora of New Zealand,' by
Dr. Hooker, analogous and striking facts are given in regard to the plants
of that large island. Hence we see that throughout the world, the plants
growing on the more lofty mountains, and on the temperate lowlands of the
northern and southern hemispheres, are sometimes identically the same; but
they are much oftener specifically distinct, though related to each other
in a most remarkable manner.
This brief abstract applies to plants alone: some strictly analogous facts
could be given on the distribution of terrestrial animals. In marine
productions, similar cases occur; as an example, I may quote a remark by
On the Origin of Species
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from The Odyssey by Homer:
upholds the tall pillars which keep earth and sky asunder.
His daughter it is that holds the hapless man in sorrow:
and ever with soft and guileful tales she is wooing him to
forgetfulness of Ithaca. But Odysseus yearning to see if it
were but the smoke leap upwards from his own land, hath a
desire to die. As for thee, thine heart regardeth it not at
all, Olympian! What! did not Odysseus by the ships of the
Argives make thee free offering of sacrifice in the wide
Trojan land? Wherefore wast thou then so wroth with him, O
And Zeus the cloud-gatherer answered her, and said, 'My
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from Tristram Shandy by Laurence Sterne:
that the shot which disabled me at the battle of Landen, was pointed at my
knee for no other purpose, but to take me out of his service, and place me
in your honour's, where I should be taken so much better care of in my old
age--It shall never, Trim, be construed otherwise, said my uncle Toby.
The heart, both of the master and the man, were alike subject to sudden
over-flowings;--a short silence ensued.
Besides, said the corporal, resuming the discourse--but in a gayer accent--
if it had not been for that single shot, I had never, 'an please your
honour, been in love--
So, thou wast once in love, Trim! said my uncle Toby, smiling--
Souse! replied the corporal--over head and ears! an' please your honour.
|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 Chance by Joseph Conrad:
puzzle over her nonsense all night. She was to slip down again into
the garden later on, as soon as she could do so without being heard.
He would be there waiting for her till--till daylight. She didn't
think he could go to sleep, did she? And she had better come, or--
he broke off on an unfinished threat.
She vanished into the unlighted cottage just as Mrs. Fyne came up to
the porch. Nervous, holding her breath in the darkness of the
living-room, she heard her best friend say: "You ought to have
joined us, Roderick." And then: "Have you seen Miss Smith
Flora shuddered, expecting Anthony to break out into betraying