|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from Study of a Woman by Honore de Balzac:
the mantelpiece, and carried it to a window, to obtain, by
journalistic help, an opinion of his own on the state of France.
A woman, even a prude, is never long embarrassed, however difficult
may be the position in which she finds herself; she seems always to
have on hand the fig-leaf which our mother Eve bequeathed to her.
Consequently, when Eugene, interpreting, in favor of his vanity, the
refusal to admit him, bowed to Madame de Listomere in a tolerably
intentional manner, she veiled her thoughts behind one of those
feminine smiles which are more impenetrable than the words of a king.
"Are you unwell, madame? You denied yourself to visitors."
"I am well, monsieur."
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from Essays & Lectures by Oscar Wilde:
on the uniform character of the nature of man. Yet, after all is
said, these are perhaps but very general statements: the ordinary
effects of peace and war are dwelt on, but there is no real
analysis of the immediate causes and general laws of the phenomena
of life, nor does Thucydides seem to recognise the truth that if
humanity proceeds in circles, the circles are always widening.
Perhaps we may say that with him the philosophy of history is
partly in the metaphysical stage, and see, in the progress of this
idea from Herodotus to Polybius, the exemplification of the Comtian
Law of the three stages of thought, the theological, the
metaphysical, and the scientific: for truly out of the vagueness
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from The Jungle by Upton Sinclair:
Jurgis went without a word; but as he passed round the barn he
came to a freshly ploughed and harrowed field, in which the
farmer had set out some young peach trees; and as he walked he
jerked up a row of them by the roots, more than a hundred trees
in all, before he reached the end of the field. That was his
answer, and it showed his mood; from now on he was fighting,
and the man who hit him would get all that he gave, every time.
Beyond the orchard Jurgis struck through a patch of woods, and
then a field of winter grain, and came at last to another road.
Before long he saw another farmhouse, and, as it was beginning
to cloud over a little, he asked here for shelter as well as food.
|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 The Man against the Sky by Edwin Arlington Robinson:
"This pipe would never make me calm,
This bowl my grief would never drown.
For grief like mine there is no balm
In Gilead, or in Tilbury Town.
And if I see what I can see,
I know not any way to blind it;
Nor more if any way may be
For you to grope or fly to find it.
"There may be room for ruin yet,
And ashes for a wasted love;
Or, like One whom you may forget,