|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from The Battle of the Books by Jonathan Swift:
defendant; thus making the matter depend entirely upon the
influence of the stars, without the least regard to the merits of
The expression in Apocrypha about Tobit and his dog following him I
have often heard ridiculed, yet Homer has the same words of
Telemachus more than once; and Virgil says something like it of
Evander. And I take the book of Tobit to be partly poetical.
I have known some men possessed of good qualities, which were very
serviceable to others, but useless to themselves; like a sun-dial
on the front of a house, to inform the neighbours and passengers,
but not the owner within.
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from Phaedo by Plato:
to us who in a distant country read the narrative of their emotions after
more than two thousand years have passed away.
The two principal interlocutors are Simmias and Cebes, the disciples of
Philolaus the Pythagorean philosopher of Thebes. Simmias is described in
the Phaedrus as fonder of an argument than any man living; and Cebes,
although finally persuaded by Socrates, is said to be the most incredulous
of human beings. It is Cebes who at the commencement of the Dialogue asks
why 'suicide is held to be unlawful,' and who first supplies the doctrine
of recollection in confirmation of the pre-existence of the soul. It is
Cebes who urges that the pre-existence does not necessarily involve the
future existence of the soul, as is shown by the illustration of the weaver