|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from Historical Lecturers and Essays by Charles Kingsley:
He had fled, some say, for his life. Like Erasmus, he had no mind
to be a martyr, and he had been terrified at the execution of poor
Louis de Berquin, his friend, and the friend of Erasmus likewise.
This Louis de Berquin, a man well known in those days, was a gallant
young gentleman and scholar, holding a place in the court of Francis
I., who had translated into French the works of Erasmus, Luther, and
Melancthon, and had asserted that it was heretical to invoke the
Virgin Mary instead of the Holy Spirit, or to call her our Hope and
our Life, which titles--Berquin averred--belonged alone to God.
Twice had the doctors of the Sorbonne, with that terrible
persecutor, Noel Beda, at their head, seized poor Berquin, and tried
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from Cousin Betty by Honore de Balzac:
scene that would take place on the morrow. And the very first thing in
the morning she went to see Victorin and to tell him that Hortense and
Wenceslas had parted.
When the Baron went home at half-past ten, Mariette and Louise, who
had had a hard day, were locking up the apartment. Hulot had not to
Very much put out at this compulsory virtue, the husband went straight
to his wife's room, and through the half-open door he saw her kneeling
before her Crucifix, absorbed in prayer, in one of those attitudes
which make the fortune of the painter or the sculptor who is so happy
to invent and then to express them. Adeline, carried away by her
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from The Elixir of Life by Honore de Balzac:
spectacle of a corpse so wasted and shrunken that it seemed like
a skeleton, and only the face was uncovered. This mummy-like
figure lay in the middle of the room. The limp clinging linen
lent itself to the outlines it shrouded--so sharp, bony, and
thin. Large violet patches had already begun to spread over the
face; the embalmers' work had not been finished too soon.
Don Juan, strong as he was in his scepticism, felt a tremor as he
opened the magic crystal flask. When he stood over that face, he
was trembling so violently, that he was actually obliged to wait
for a moment. But Don Juan had acquired an early familiarity with
evil; his morals had been corrupted by a licentious court, a
|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 Bucolics by Virgil:
To the slim oaten reed my silvan lay.
I sing but as vouchsafed me; yet even this
If, if but one with ravished eyes should read,
Of thee, O Varus, shall our tamarisks
And all the woodland ring; nor can there be
A page more dear to Phoebus, than the page
Where, foremost writ, the name of Varus stands.
Speed ye, Pierian Maids! Within a cave
Young Chromis and Mnasyllos chanced to see
Silenus sleeping, flushed, as was his wont,
With wine of yesterday. Not far aloof,