|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from Venus and Adonis by William Shakespeare:
Shaking their scratch'd ears, bleeding as they go.
Look, how the world's poor people are amaz'd 925
At apparitions, signs, and prodigies,
Whereon with fearful eyes they long have gaz'd,
Infusing them with dreadful prophecies; 928
So she at these sad sighs draws up her breath,
And, sighing it again, exclaims on Death.
'Hard-favour'd tyrant, ugly, meagre, lean, 931
Hateful divorce of love,'--thus chides she Death,--
'Grim-grinning ghost, earth's worm, what dost thou mean
To stifle beauty and to steal his breath,
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from The Fall of the House of Usher by Edgar Allan Poe:
arrested and overawed attention. If ever mortal painted an idea,
that mortal was Roderick Usher. For me at least--in the
circumstances then surrounding me--there arose out of the pure
abstractions which the hypochondriac contrived to throw upon his
canvas, an intensity of intolerable awe, no shadow of which felt
I ever yet in the contemplation of the certainly glowing yet too
concrete reveries of Fuseli.
One of the phantasmagoric conceptions of my friend,
partaking not so rigidly of the spirit of abstraction, may be
shadowed forth, although feebly, in words. A small picture
presented the interior of an immensely long and rectangular vault
The Fall of the House of Usher
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from Modeste Mignon by Honore de Balzac:
of mechanical toil to obtain greater mastery of thought. Spinosa
ground glasses for spectacles; Bayle counted the tiles on the roof;
Montesquieu gardened. The body being thus subdued, the soul could
spread its wings in all security.
Madame Mignon, reading her daughter's soul, was therefore right.
Modeste loved; she loved with that rare platonic love, so little
understood, the first illusion of a young girl, the most delicate of
all sentiments, a very dainty of the heart. She drank deep draughts
from the chalice of the unknown, the vague, the visionary. She admired
the blue plumage of the bird that sings afar in the paradise of young
girls, which no hand can touch, no gun can cover, as it flits across
|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 Salammbo by Gustave Flaubert:
they expected something unlooked for and terrible. The night was spent
in great distress; several even got rid of their weapons, so as to
soften the Suffet when he presented himself.
But on the following day, at the third watch, a second runner
appeared, still more breathless, and blackened with dust. The Greek
snatched from his hand a roll of papyrus covered with Phoenician
writing. The Mercenaries were entreated not to be disheartened; the
brave men of Tunis were coming with large reinforcements.
Spendius first read the letter three times in succession; and held up
by two Cappadocians, who bore him seated on their shoulders, he had
himself conveyed from place to place and re-read it. For seven hours