|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from The Prince by Nicolo Machiavelli:
remainder of his infantry to attack the cavalry of the enemy. This
they did with lance and javelin, and, joined by their own cavalry,
fell upon the enemy with the greatest fury and soon put him to flight.
The Florentine captains, having seen the difficulty their cavalry had
met with in crossing the river, had attempted to make their infantry
cross lower down the river, in order to attack the flanks of
Castruccio's army. But here, also, the banks were steep and already
lined by the men of Castruccio, and this movement was quite useless.
Thus the Florentines were so completely defeated at all points that
scarcely a third of them escaped, and Castruccio was again covered
with glory. Many captains were taken prisoners, and Carlo, the son of
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from Sanitary and Social Lectures by Charles Kingsley:
And this brings me to another, and a most fearful evil of great
cities, namely, drunkenness. I am one of those who cannot, on
scientific grounds, consider drunkenness as a cause of evil, but
as an effect. Of course it is a cause--a cause of endless crime
and misery; but I am convinced that to cure, you must inquire, not
what it causes, but what causes it? And for that we shall not
have to seek far.
The main exciting cause of drunkenness is, I believe, firmly, bad
air and bad lodging.
A man shall spend his days between a foul alley where he breathes
sulphuretted hydrogen, a close workshop where he breathes carbonic
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from Soul of a Bishop by H. G. Wells:
orthodoxy. To none of them except to Eleanor had he ever talked
with any freedom of his new apprehensions of religious reality.
And that had been at Eleanor's initiative. There was, he saw now,
something of insolence and something of treachery in this
concealment. His ruling disposition throughout the crisis had
been to force comfort and worldly well-being upon all those
dependants even at the price of his own spiritual integrity. In
no way had he consulted them upon the bargain.... While we have
pottered, each for the little good of his own family, each for
the lessons and clothes and leisure of his own children,
assenting to this injustice, conforming to that dishonest custom,
|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 Divine Comedy (translated by H.F. Cary) by Dante Alighieri:
Of the great Coan, him, whom nature made
To serve the costliest creature of her tribe.
His fellow mark'd an opposite intent,
Bearing a sword, whose glitterance and keen edge,
E'en as I view'd it with the flood between,
Appall'd me. Next four others I beheld,
Of humble seeming: and, behind them all,
One single old man, sleeping, as he came,
With a shrewd visage. And these seven, each
Like the first troop were habited, hut wore
No braid of lilies on their temples wreath'd.
The Divine Comedy (translated by H.F. Cary)