|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from The Memorabilia by Xenophon:
heart towards any one whom I conceive to be kindly disposed to me.
Soc. All this I shall feel empowered to say about you to those whose
friendship you seek, and I can promise further help; only there is a
comprehensive "if" to be considered: if you will further authorise me
to say that you are devoted to your friends; that nothing gives you so
much joy as a good friend; that you pride yourself no less on the fine
deeds of those you love than on your own; and on their good things
equally with your own; that you never weary of plotting and planning
to procure them a rich harvest of the same; and lastly, that you have
discovered a man's virtue is to excel his friends in kindness and his
foes in hostility. If I am authorised thus to report of you, I think
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from The Tragedy of Pudd'nhead Wilson by Mark Twain:
volcanic dust, changes the face of the surrounding landscape
beyond recognition, bringing down the high lands, elevating the low,
making fair lakes where deserts had been, and deserts where green
prairies had smiled before. The tremendous catastrophe which had
befallen Tom had changed his moral landscape in much the same way.
Some of his low places he found lifted to ideals, some of his ideas
had sunk to the valleys, and lay there with the sackcloth and ashes
of pumice stone and sulphur on their ruined heads.
For days he wandered in lonely places, thinking, thinking, thinking--
trying to get his bearings. It was new work. If he met a friend,
he found that the habit of a lifetime had in some mysterious way vanished--
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from The Cruise of the Jasper B. by Don Marquis:
"I spit upon your flag," shrilled Giuseppe Jones, feebly
declamatory. "'I spit--I spit--but, as I spit, I weep.'" He
paused for a moment, and then began at the beginning and repeated
all of the lines which Cleggett had read from the little book.
One gathered that it was Giuseppe's favorite poem.
"'I spit upon the whole damned thing!'" he shrilled, and then
with a sad shake of his head: "But, as I spit, I weep!"
If the poem was Giuseppe's favorite poem, this was evidently his
favorite line, for he said it over and over again--"'But, as I
spit, I weep'"--in a breathless babble that was very wearing on
|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 A Sentimental Journey by Laurence Sterne:
forced into marriage by the thunder of the church to a tempest of a
woman; - to be driven forth out of my house by domestic winds, and
despoil'd of my castor by pontific ones! - to be here, bareheaded,
in a windy night, at the mercy of the ebbs and flows of accidents!
- Where am I to lay my head? - Miserable man! what wind in the two-
and-thirty points of the whole compass can blow unto thee, as it
does to the rest of thy fellow-creatures, good?
As the notary was passing on by a dark passage, complaining in this
sort, a voice call'd out to a girl, to bid her run for the next
notary. - Now the notary being the next, and availing himself of
his situation, walk'd up the passage to the door, and passing