|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from Menexenus by Plato:
three days, and not until the fourth or fifth day do I come to my senses
and know where I am; in the meantime I have been living in the Islands of
the Blest. Such is the art of our rhetoricians, and in such manner does
the sound of their words keep ringing in my ears.
MENEXENUS: You are always making fun of the rhetoricians, Socrates; this
time, however, I am inclined to think that the speaker who is chosen will
not have much to say, for he has been called upon to speak at a moment's
notice, and he will be compelled almost to improvise.
SOCRATES: But why, my friend, should he not have plenty to say? Every
rhetorician has speeches ready made; nor is there any difficulty in
improvising that sort of stuff. Had the orator to praise Athenians among
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from From London to Land's End by Daniel Defoe:
that every family in the town has a clear, clean running river (as
it may be called) just at their own door, and this so much finer,
so much pleasanter, and agreeable to look on than that at Salisbury
(which they boast so much of), that, in my opinion, there is no
Here we see the first of the great serge manufacture of Devonshire-
-a trade too great to be described in miniature, as it must be if I
undertake it here, and which takes up this whole county, which is
the largest and most populous in England, Yorkshire excepted (which
ought to be esteemed three counties, and is, indeed, divided as
such into the East, West, and North Riding). But Devonshire, one
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from The Rape of Lucrece by William Shakespeare:
Tears harden lust, though marble wear with raining.
Her pity-pleading eyes are sadly fix'd
In the remorseless wrinkles of his face;
Her modest eloquence with sighs is mix'd,
Which to her oratory adds more grace.
She puts the period often from his place,
And midst the sentence so her accent breaks,
That twice she doth begin ere once she speaks.
She conjures him by high almighty Jove,
By knighthood, gentry, and sweet friendship's oath,
By her untimely tears, her husband's love,
|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 Parmenides by Plato:
Then the one always both is and becomes older and younger than itself?
And is it or does it become a longer time than itself or an equal time with
An equal time.
But if it becomes or is for an equal time with itself, it is of the same
age with itself?
And that which is of the same age, is neither older nor younger?