|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from The Muse of the Department by Honore de Balzac:
afraid, whereas I am sure of coming
to an understanding with you,"
cried the Duke. "Oh, my worthy
deliverer, you must be armed to the
"/E verissimo/" (most true).
"Do you happen to have--"
"Yes, files, pincers--/Corpo di
Bacco/! I came to borrow the treas-
ures of the Bracciani on a long
The Muse of the Department
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from A Lover's Complaint by William Shakespeare:
Whose bare out-bragg'd the web it seemed to wear:
Yet show'd his visage by that cost more dear;
And nice affections wavering stood in doubt
If best were as it was, or best without.
His qualities were beauteous as his form,
For maiden-tongued he was, and thereof free;
Yet if men mov'd him, was he such a storm
As oft 'twixt May and April is to see,
When winds breathe sweet, unruly though they be.
His rudeness so with his authoriz'd youth
Did livery falseness in a pride of truth.
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from Letters of Robert Louis Stevenson by Robert Louis Stevenson:
besides this, I have to call upon, keep sweet, and judiciously
interview all sorts of persons - English, American, German, and
Samoan. It makes a hard life; above all, as after every interview
I have to come and get my notes straight on the nail. I believe I
should have got my facts before the end of January, when I shall
make our Tonga or Fiji. I am down right in the hurricane season;
but they had so bad a one last year, I don't imagine there will be
much of an edition this. Say that I get to Sydney some time in
April, and I shall have done well, and be in a position to write a
very singular and interesting book, or rather two; for I shall
begin, I think, with a separate opuscule on the Samoan Trouble,
|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 Before Adam by Jack London:
principally berries and succulent roots, and on the
river bank we played and lingered for days. And then
the idea came to Lop-Ear. It was a visible process,
the coming of the idea. I saw it. The expression in
his eyes became plaintive and querulous, and he was
greatly perturbed. Then his eyes went muddy, as if he
had lost his grip on the inchoate thought. This was
followed by the plaintive, querulous expression as the
idea persisted and he clutched it anew. He looked at
me, and at the river and the far shore. He tried to
speak, but had no sounds with which to express the