|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from The Divine Comedy (translated by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow) by Dante Alighieri:
And the other one, who seemed to lag too much,
Was shouting: "Lano, were not so alert
Those legs of thine at joustings of the Toppo!"
And then, perchance because his breath was failing,
He grouped himself together with a bush.
Behind them was the forest full of black
She-mastiffs, ravenous, and swift of foot
As greyhounds, who are issuing from the chain.
On him who had crouched down they set their teeth,
And him they lacerated piece by piece,
Thereafter bore away those aching members.
The Divine Comedy (translated by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow)
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from Margret Howth: A Story of To-day by Rebecca Harding Davis:
life for so plain a duty; hardly heroic. She knew it. Yet, if
there lay in this coming labour any pain, any wearing effort, she
clung to it desperately, as if this should banish, it might be,
worse loss. She tried desperately, I say, to clutch the far,
uncertain hope at the end, to make happiness out of it, to give
it to her silent gnawing heart to feed on. She thrust out of
sight all possible life that might have called her true self into
being, and clung to this present shallow duty and shallow reward.
Pitiful and vain so to cling! It is the way of women. As if any
human soul could bury that which might have been, in that which
Margret Howth: A Story of To-day
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from Lady Baltimore by Owen Wister:
according to her custom, had remembered something objectionable that had
been perpetrated in 1865 by the Northern vandals.
"Edward," said Mrs. Braintree to her husband, in a frightfully clear
voice, "it was at Chambersburg, was it not, that the Southern vandals
burned the house in which were your father's title-deeds?"
Edward, who, it appeared, had fought through the whole Civil War, and was
in consequence perfectly good-humored and peaceable in his feelings upon
that subject, replied hastily and amiably: "Oh, yes, yes! Why, I believe
But this availed nothing; Juno bent her great height forward, and
addressed Mrs. Braintree. "This is the first time I have been told
|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 Unconscious Comedians by Honore de Balzac:
about seducing the charming Jenny, with whom he was by this time in
love. Leon de Lora and Bixiou left their victim in the hands of that
most roguish and frolicsome member of the anomalous society,--for
Jenny Cadine is the sole rival in that respect of the famous Dejazet.
At the supper-table, where Gazonal was fascinated by a silver service
made by the modern Benvenuto Cellini, Froment-Meurice, the contents of
which were worthy of the container, his mischievous friends were
careful to sit at some distance from him; but they followed with
cautious eye the manoeuvres of the clever actress, who, being
attracted by the insidious hope of getting her furniture renewed, was
playing her cards to take the provincial home with her. No sheep upon