|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne:
"Help, help!" I shouted, swimming towards the Abraham Lincoln in desperation.
My clothes encumbered me; they seemed glued to my body,
and paralysed my movements.
I was sinking! I was suffocating!
This was my last cry. My mouth filled with water;
I struggled against being drawn down the abyss.
Suddenly my clothes were seized by a strong hand, and I
felt myself quickly drawn up to the surface of the sea;
and I heard, yes, I heard these words pronounced in my ear:
"If master would be so good as to lean on my shoulder,
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from Tess of the d'Urbervilles, A Pure Woman by Thomas Hardy:
As usual, Mrs Durbeyfield was balanced on one foot
beside the tub, the other being engaged in the
aforesaid business of rocking her youngest child.
The cradle-rockers had done hard duty for so many years,
under the weight of so many children, on that flagstone
floor, that they were worn nearly flat, in consequence
of which a huge jerk accompanied each swing of the cot,
flinging the baby from side to side like a weaver's
shuttle, as Mrs Durbeyfield, excited by her song, trod
the rocker with all the spring that was left in her
after a long day's seething in the suds.
Tess of the d'Urbervilles, A Pure Woman
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from The Master of Ballantrae by Robert Louis Stevenson:
nothing, and yet to have let all out. Before I knew where I was
the man was condoling with me on my lord's neglect of my lady and
myself, and his hurtful indulgence to his son. On this last point
I perceived him (with panic fear) to return repeatedly. The boy
had displayed a certain shrinking from his uncle; it was strong in
my mind his father had been fool enough to indoctrinate the same,
which was no wise beginning: and when I looked upon the man before
me, still so handsome, so apt a speaker, with so great a variety of
fortunes to relate, I saw he was the very personage to captivate a
boyish fancy. John Paul had left only that morning; it was not to
be supposed he had been altogether dumb upon his favourite subject:
|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 Menexenus by Plato:
her conception and generation is but the imitation of the earth, and not
the earth of the woman. And of the fruit of the earth she gave a plenteous
supply, not only to her own, but to others also; and afterwards she made
the olive to spring up to be a boon to her children, and to help them in
their toils. And when she had herself nursed them and brought them up to
manhood, she gave them Gods to be their rulers and teachers, whose names
are well known, and need not now be repeated. They are the Gods who first
ordered our lives, and instructed us in the arts for the supply of our
daily needs, and taught us the acquisition and use of arms for the defence
of the country.
Thus born into the world and thus educated, the ancestors of the departed