|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from The House of Dust by Conrad Aiken:
Or it is cloudy, with low threat of rain,
I get uneasy--just like poplar trees
Ruffling their leaves--and I begin to think
Of poor Pauline, so many years ago,
And that delicious night. Where is she now?
I meant to write--but she has moved, by this time,
And then, besides, she might find out I'm married.
Well, there is more--I'm getting old and timid--
The years have gnawed my will. I've lost my nerve!
I never strike out boldly as I used to--
But sit here, painting violets, and remember
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from The Divine Comedy (translated by H.F. Cary) by Dante Alighieri:
usurer, the most infamous of his time.
v. 28. With us beyond.] Beyond the middle point they tended the
same way with us, but their pace was quicker than ours.
v. 29. E'en thus the Romans.] In the year 1300, Pope Boniface
VIII., to remedy the inconvenience occasioned by the press of
people who were passing over the bridge of St. Angelo during the
time of the Jubilee, caused it to be divided length wise by a
partition, and ordered, that all those who were going to St.
Peter's should keep one side, and those returning the other.
v. 50. Venedico.] Venedico Caccianimico, a Bolognese, who
The Divine Comedy (translated by H.F. Cary)
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from Early Short Fiction of Edith Wharton by Edith Wharton:
improbable would have served. But your alibi was too
confoundedly complete. And nothing you've told me has shaken
it." Denver laid his cool hand over the other's burning fingers.
"Look here, old fellow, go home and work up a better case--then
come in and submit it to the Investigator."
The perspiration was rolling off Granice's forehead. Every few
minutes he had to draw out his handkerchief and wipe the moisture
from his haggard face.
For an hour and a half he had been talking steadily, putting his
case to the District Attorney. Luckily he had a speaking
|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 Blix by Frank Norris:
Condy had told young Sargeant that he had "reformed" in the matter
of gambling, and intended to swear off for a few months.
Sargeant, like the thoroughbred he was, never urged him to play
after that, and never spoke of the previous night's game when
Condy was about. The other men of his "set" were no less
thoughtful, and, though they rallied him a little at first upon
his defection, soon let the matter drop. Condy told himself that
there were plenty of good people in the world, after all. Every
one seemed conspiring to make it easy for him, and he swore at
himself for a weak-kneed cad.