|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from Chronicles of the Canongate by Walter Scott:
made it nae residence for his mother; and how it had been
foretauld by a servant of his ain house that he was a ne'er-do-
weel and a child of perdition, and how her words were made good,
"Stop there, goodwife, if you please," said I; "you have said as
much as I can well remember, and more than it may be safe to
repeat. I can use a great deal of freedom with the gentleman we
speak of; but I think, were any other person to carry him half of
your message, I would scarce ensure his personal safety. And
now, as I see the night is settled to be a fine one, I will walk
on to --, where I must meet a coach to-morrow as it passes to
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from The Children of the Night by Edwin Arlington Robinson:
That filled it when he stopped and cried, "Hollo!"
Shone joyously, and so I let it shine.
He said his name was Fleming Helphenstine,
But be that as it may; -- I only know
He talked of this and that and So-and-So,
And laughed and chaffed like any friend of mine.
But soon, with a queer, quick frown, he looked at me,
And I looked hard at him; and there we gazed
With a strained shame that made us cringe and wince:
Then, with a wordless clogged apology
That sounded half confused and half amazed,
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from Maggie: A Girl of the Streets by Stephen Crane:
building and crawled slowly along the river's bank.
A stone had smashed into Jimmie's mouth. Blood was bubbling
over his chin and down upon his ragged shirt. Tears made furrows
on his dirt-stained cheeks. His thin legs had begun to tremble and
turn weak, causing his small body to reel. His roaring curses of
the first part of the fight had changed to a blasphemous chatter.
In the yells of the whirling mob of Devil's Row children
there were notes of joy like songs of triumphant savagery.
The little boys seemed to leer gloatingly at the blood upon
the other child's face.
Down the avenue came boastfully sauntering a lad of sixteen
Maggie: A Girl of the Streets
|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 Personal Record by Joseph Conrad:
One may well feel some regard for honesty, even if practised upon
one's own vile body. But it is very obvious that an enemy of
that sort will not be stayed by explanations or placated by
apologies. Were I to advance the plea of youth in excuse of the
naiveness to be found in these pages, he would be likely to say
"Bosh!" in a column and a half of fierce print. Yet a writer is
no older than his first published book, and, not withstanding the
vain appearances of decay which attend us in this transitory
life, I stand here with the wreath of only fifteen short summers
on my brow.
With the remark, then, that at such tender age some naiveness of
A Personal Record