|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from The Divine Comedy (translated by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow) by Dante Alighieri:
"Ye are new-comers; and because I smile,"
Began she, "peradventure, in this place
Elect to human nature for its nest,
Some apprehension keeps you marvelling;
But the psalm 'Delectasti' giveth light
Which has the power to uncloud your intellect.
And thou who foremost art, and didst entreat me,
Speak, if thou wouldst hear more; for I came ready
To all thy questionings, as far as needful."
"The water," said I, "and the forest's sound,
Are combating within me my new faith
The Divine Comedy (translated by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow)
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from The Hidden Masterpiece by Honore de Balzac:
your hand behind those shoulders? For seven years have I studied these
effects of light coupled with form. That hair,--is it not bathed in
light? Why, she breathes! That bosom,--see! Ah! who would not worship
it on bended knee? The flesh palpitates! Wait, she is about to rise;
"Can you see anything?" whispered Poussin to Porbus.
"Nothing. Can you?"
The two painters drew back, leaving the old man absorbed in ecstasy,
and tried to see if the light, falling plumb upon the canvas at which
he pointed, had neutralized all effects. They examined the picture,
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from Alexandria and her Schools by Charles Kingsley:
him seem to have commented on his comments. With him Neoplatonism
properly ends. Is its last utterance a culmination or a fall? Have the
Titans sealed heaven, or died of old age, "exhibiting," as Gibbon says
of them, "a deplorable instance of the senility of the human mind?"
Read Proclus, and judge for yourselves: but first contrive to finish
everything else you have to do which can possibly be useful to any human
being. Life is short, and Art--at least the art of obtaining practical
guidance from the last of the Alexandrians--very long.
And yet--if Proclus and his school became gradually unfaithful to the
great root-idea of their philosophy, we must not imitate them. We must
not believe that the last of the Alexandrians was under no divine
|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 Maitre Cornelius by Honore de Balzac:
could post men to watch him during his sleep and discover the unknown
gulf into which he had cast his riches,--those riches he had watered
with the blood of so many innocent men. And then, beside his fear,
In order to prevent during his lifetime the abduction of his hidden
treasure, he took the most cruel precautions against sleep; besides
which, his commercial relations put him in the way of obtaining
powerful anti-narcotics. His struggles to keep awake were awful--alone
with night, silence, Remorse, and Fear, with all the thoughts that
man, instinctively perhaps, has best embodied--obedient thus to a
moral truth as yet devoid of actual proof.