|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from Before Adam by Jack London:
the modern sense of the term. My home was an
association, not a habitation. I lived in my mother's
care, not in a house. And my mother lived anywhere, so
long as when night came she was above the ground.
My mother was old-fashioned. She still clung to her
trees. It is true, the more progressive members of our
horde lived in the caves above the river. But my
mother was suspicious and unprogressive. The trees were
good enough for her. Of course, we had one particular
tree in which we usually roosted, though we often
roosted in other trees when nightfall caught us. In a
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from Georgics by Virgil:
All facing westward on the rocky heights,
And of the gentle breezes take their fill;
And oft unmated, marvellous to tell,
But of the wind impregnate, far and wide
O'er craggy height and lowly vale they scud,
Not toward thy rising, Eurus, or the sun's,
But westward and north-west, or whence up-springs
Black Auster, that glooms heaven with rainy cold.
Hence from their groin slow drips a poisonous juice,
By shepherds truly named hippomanes,
Hippomanes, fell stepdames oft have culled,
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from The Divine Comedy (translated by H.F. Cary) by Dante Alighieri:
Canto XI. His "Canzone sopra il Terreno Amore" was thought
worthy of being illustrated by numerous and ample commentaries.
Crescimbeni Ist. della Volg. Poes. l. v.
For a playful sonnet which Dante addressed to him, and a spirited
translation of it, see Hayley's Essay on Epic Poetry, Notes to
v. 66. Saidst thou he had?] In Aeschylus, the shade of Darius
is represented as inquiring with similar anxiety after the fate
of his son Xerxes.
Atossa: Xerxes astonish'd, desolate, alone--
The Divine Comedy (translated by H.F. Cary)
|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 Of The Nature of Things by Lucretius:
With mighty roarings, and within those dens
Bluster like savage beasts, and now from here,
And now from there, send growlings through the clouds,
And seeking an outlet, whirl themselves about,
And roll from 'mid the clouds the seeds of fire,
And heap them multitudinously there,
And in the hollow furnaces within
Wheel flame around, until from bursted cloud
In forky flashes they have gleamed forth.
Again, from following cause it comes to pass
That yon swift golden hue of liquid fire
Of The Nature of Things