|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from Songs of Travel by Robert Louis Stevenson:
I KNEW thee strong and quiet like the hills;
I knew thee apt to pity, brave to endure,
In peace or war a Roman full equipt;
And just I knew thee, like the fabled kings
Who by the loud sea-shore gave judgment forth,
From dawn to eve, bearded and few of words.
What, what, was I to honour thee? A child;
A youth in ardour but a child in strength,
Who after virtue's golden chariot-wheels
Runs ever panting, nor attains the goal.
So thought I, and was sorrowful at heart.
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from The Lily of the Valley by Honore de Balzac:
coldness, wounded me constantly; for my soul was both virgin and
passionate, and as I could not pass from one temperature to the other,
my temper suffered. When I complained (never without precaution), she
turned her tongue with its triple sting against me; mingling boasts of
her love with those cutting English sarcasms. As soon as she found
herself in opposition to me, she made it an amusement to hurt my
feelings and humiliate my mind; she kneaded me like dough. To any
remark of mine as to keeping a medium in all things, she replied by
caricaturing my ideas and exaggerating them. When I reproached her for
her manner to me, she asked if I wished her to kiss me at the opera
before all Paris; and she said it so seriously that I, knowing her
The Lily of the Valley
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte:
resolutely clenched, and his gaze fixed on the ground. Catherine,
by instinct, must have divined it was obdurate perversity, and not
dislike, that prompted this dogged conduct; for, after remaining an
instant undecided, she stooped and impressed on his cheek a gentle
kiss. The little rogue thought I had not seen her, and, drawing
back, she took her former station by the window, quite demurely. I
shook my head reprovingly, and then she blushed and whispered -
'Well! what should I have done, Ellen? He wouldn't shake hands,
and he wouldn't look: I must show him some way that I like him -
that I want to be friends.'
Whether the kiss convinced Hareton, I cannot tell: he was very
|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 Alkahest by Honore de Balzac:
the Claes would be mortgaged to its full value. As for himself, he
said, the remonstrances he had already made to his cousin, with all
the consideration due to a man so justly respected, had been wholly
unavailing. Balthazar had replied, once for all, that he was working
for the fame and the fortune of his family.
Thus, to the tortures of the heart which Madame Claes had borne for
two years--one following the other with cumulative suffering--was now
added a dreadful and ceaseless fear which made the future terrifying.
Women have presentiments whose accuracy is often marvellous. Why do
they fear so much more than they hope in matters that concern the
interests of this life? Why is their faith given only to religious