|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from Facino Cane by Honore de Balzac:
Homer bearing within him an /Odyssey/ doomed to oblivion. The
greatness was so real that it triumphed over his abject position; the
despotism so much a part of him, that it rose above his poverty.
There are violent passions which drive a man to good or evil, making
of him a hero or a convict; of these there was not one that had failed
to leave its traces on the grandly-hewn, lividly Italian face. You
trembled lest a flash of thought should suddenly light up the deep
sightless hollows under the grizzled brows, as you might fear to see
brigands with torches and poniards in the mouth of a cavern. You felt
that there was a lion in that cage of flesh, a lion spent with useless
raging against iron bars. The fires of despair had burned themselves
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from My Aunt Margaret's Mirror by Walter Scott:
companion of earth without being at peace with you. What do I
know--your forgiveness may perhaps preserve for penitence the
dregs of a wretched life.'
"'Ha!' said the lady, as a sudden light broke on her, 'it is the
villain himself!' And grasping Sir Philip Forester--for it was
he, and no other--by the collar, she raised a cry of 'Murder,
murder! seize the murderer!'
"At an exclamation so singular, in such a place, the company
thronged into the apartment; but Sir Philip Forester was no
longer there. He had forcibly extricated himself from Lady
Bothwell's hold, and had run out of the apartment, which opened
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from Eugenie Grandet by Honore de Balzac:
"Yes, for you," she said, dropping her eyelids. "Come, Charles, go to
bed; I wish it; you must be tired. Good-night." She gently disengaged
her hand from those of her cousin, who followed her to her room,
lighting the way. When they were both upon the threshold,--
"Ah!" he said, "why am I ruined?"
"What matter?--my father is rich; I think so," she answered.
"Poor child!" said Charles, making a step into her room and leaning
his back against the wall, "if that were so, he would never have let
my father die; he would not let you live in this poor way; he would
live otherwise himself."
"But he owns Froidfond."
|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 Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad:
Nobody near to understand him as I would have understood.
Perhaps no one to hear. . . .'
"`To the very end,' I said, shakily. `I heard his very last words.
. . .' I stopped in a fright.
"`Repeat them,' she murmured in a heart-broken tone.
`I want--I want--something--something--to--to live with.'
"I was on the point of crying at her, `Don't you hear them?'
The dusk was repeating them in a persistent whisper all around us,
in a whisper that seemed to swell menacingly like the first whisper
of a rising wind. `The horror! The horror!'
"`His last word--to live with,' she insisted. `Don't you understand I
Heart of Darkness