|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from Familiar Studies of Men and Books by Robert Louis Stevenson:
no one can appreciate Whitman's excellences until he has
grown accustomed to his faults. Until you are content to
pick poetry out of his pages almost as you must pick it out
of a Greek play in Bohn's translation, your gravity will be
continually upset, your ears perpetually disappointed, and
the whole book will be no more to you than a particularly
flagrant production by the Poet Close.
A writer of this uncertain quality was, perhaps, unfortunate
in taking for thesis the beauty of the world as it now is,
not only on the hill-tops but in the factory; not only by the
harbour full of stately ships, but in the magazine of the
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from Heart of the West by O. Henry:
"Jackson Bird flushed up some, and then he laughed.
"'Why, Mr. Judson,' says he, 'you've got the wrong idea. I've called
on Miss Learight a few times; but not for the purpose you imagine. My
object is purely a gastronomical one.'
"I reached for my gun.
"'Any coyote,' says I, 'that would boast of dishonourable--'
"'Wait a minute,' says this Bird, 'till I explain. What would I do
with a wife? If you ever saw that ranch of mine! I do my own cooking
and mending. Eating--that's all the pleasure I get out of sheep
raising. Mr. Judson, did you ever taste the pancakes that Miss
Heart of the West