|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from The Autocrat of the Breakfast-Table by Oliver Wendell Holmes:
gentle, sweet natures, born to weakness, and mostly dying before
their time, - one cannot help thinking that the human race dies out
singing, like the swan in the old story. The French poet, Gilbert,
who died at the Hotel Dieu, at the age of twenty-nine, - (killed by
a key in his throat, which he had swallowed when delirious in
consequence of a fall,) - this poor fellow was a very good example
of the poet by excess of sensibility. I found, the other day, that
some of my literary friends had never heard of him, though I
suppose few educated Frenchmen do not know the lines which he
wrote, a week before his death, upon a mean bed in the great
hospital of Paris.
The Autocrat of the Breakfast-Table
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte by Karl Marx:
with great favor among the soldiers, to whom the republicans of the
"National" had brought neither fame nor funds; among the great
bourgeoisie, who hailed Bonaparte as a bridge to the monarchy; and among
the proletarians and small traders, who hailed him as a scourge to
Cavaignac. I shall later have occasion to enter closer into the
relation of the farmers to the French revolution.
The epoch between December 20, 1848, and the dissolution of the
constitutional assembly in May, 1849, embraces the history of the
downfall of the bourgeois republicans. After they had founded a
republic for the bourgeoisie, had driven the revolutionary proletariat
from the field and had meanwhile silenced the democratic middle class,
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from Protagoras by Plato:
that the whole composition is intended as an attack upon Pittacus. This,
though manifestly absurd, is accepted by the company, and meets with the
special approval of Hippias, who has however a favourite interpretation of
his own, which he is requested by Alcibiades to defer.
The argument is now resumed, not without some disdainful remarks of
Socrates on the practice of introducing the poets, who ought not to be
allowed, any more than flute-girls, to come into good society. Men's own
thoughts should supply them with the materials for discussion. A few
soothing flatteries are addressed to Protagoras by Callias and Socrates,
and then the old question is repeated, 'Whether the virtues are one or
many?' To which Protagoras is now disposed to reply, that four out of the
|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 Damaged Goods by Upton Sinclair:
got any idea of it, she would have been horrified and indignant--
she might even have broken off the engagement.
And then, too, there was Henriette's father, a personage of great
dignity and importance. M. Loches was a deputy of the French
Parliament, from a district in the provinces. He was a man of
upright life, and a man who made a great deal of that upright
life--keeping it on a pedestal where everyone might observe it.
It was impossible to imagine M. Loches in an undignified or
compromising situation--such as the younger man found himself
facing in the matter of Lizette.
The more he thought about it the more nervous and anxious George