|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from Sesame and Lilies by John Ruskin:
the Heathen's--is his hope more near--his trust more sure--his
reading of fate more happy? Ah, no! He differs from the Heathen
poet chiefly in this--that he recognizes, for deliverance, no gods
nigh at hand; and that, by petty chance--by momentary folly--by
broken message--by fool's tyranny--or traitor's snare, the strongest
and most righteous are brought to their ruin, and perish without
word of hope. He indeed, as part of his rendering of character,
ascribes the power and modesty of habitual devotion to the gentle
and the just. The death-bed of Katharine is bright with visions of
angels; and the great soldier-king, standing by his few dead,
acknowledges the presence of the Hand that can save alike by many or
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from The Virginian by Owen Wister:
their glasses, read the labels on the bottles. They dropped a
word now and then to the proprietor about his trade, and his
"Good head," commented McLean.
"Big old ram," assented the proprietor. "Shot him myself on Gray
Bull last fall."
"Sheep was thick in the Tetons last fall," said the Virginian.
On the bar stood a machine into which the idle customer might
drop his nickel. The coin then bounced among an arrangement of
pegs, descending at length into one or another of various holes.
You might win as much as ten times your stake, but this was not
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from The Blue Flower by Henry van Dyke:
the border of the desert. Passing through the fields and
gardens and orchards, I found that they were all encircled and
lined with channels full of running water. I followed up one
of the smaller channels until it came to a larger stream, and
as I walked on beside it, still going upward, it guided me
into the midst of the city, where I saw a sweet, merry river
flowing through the main street, with abundance of water and
a very pleasant sound.
There were houses and shops and lofty palaces and all that
makes a city, but the life and joy of all, and the one thing
that I remember best, was the river. For in the open square at
|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 Gambara by Honore de Balzac:
write grammars of harmony may, like literary critics, be atrocious
"Then you do not like my music?"
"I do not say so. But if, instead of carrying musical principles to an
extreme--which takes you too far--you would simply try to arouse our
feelings, you would be better understood, unless indeed you have
mistaken your vocation. You are a great poet."
"What," cried Gambara, "are twenty-five years of study in vain? Am I
to learn the imperfect language of men when I have the key to the
heavenly tongue? Oh, if you are right,--I should die."
"No, no. You are great and strong; you would begin life again, and I