|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from The Divine Comedy (translated by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow) by Dante Alighieri:
Will so demean themselves that thou canst gloss it.
This action has released him from those confines."
Purgatorio: Canto XII
Abreast, like oxen going in a yoke,
I with that heavy-laden soul went on,
As long as the sweet pedagogue permitted;
But when he said, "Leave him, and onward pass,
For here 'tis good that with the sail and oars,
As much as may be, each push on his barque;"
Upright, as walking wills it, I redressed
My person, notwithstanding that my thoughts
The Divine Comedy (translated by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow)
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from Ivanhoe by Walter Scott:
spot on which he had lately sunk down, but himself
he saw no longer; it seemed as if the fairies
had conveyed him from the spot. Perhaps Oswald
(for the Saxons were very superstitious) might have
adopted some such hypothesis, to account for Ivanhoe's
disappearance, had he not suddenly cast his
eye upon a person attired like a squire, in whom he
recognised the features of his fellow-servant Gurth.
Anxious concerning his master's fate, and in despair
at his sudden disappearance, the translated swineherd
was searching for him everywhere, and had
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from Fisherman's Luck by Henry van Dyke:
a rocky gorge where the deep pools are divided by white-footed
falls; a lofty forest where the shadows are deep and the trees arch
overhead; a flat, sunny stretch where the stream is spread out, and
pebbly islands divide the channels, and the big fish are lurking at
the sides in the sheltered corners under the bushes. From scene to
scene you follow on, delighted and expectant, until the night
suddenly drops its veil, and then you will be lucky if you can find
your way home in the dark!
Yes, it is all very good, this exploration of new streams. But, for
my part, I like still better to go back to a familiar little river,
and fish or dream along the banks where I have dreamed and fished
|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 Secret Sharer by Joseph Conrad:
second self. There he was on the other side of the bulkhead,
four or five feet from us, no more, as we sat in the saloon.
I looked politely at Captain Archbold (if that was his name),
but it was the other I saw, in a gray sleeping suit, seated on
a low stool, his bare feet close together, his arms folded,
and every word said between us falling into the ears of his
dark head bowed on his chest.
"I have been at sea now, man and boy, for seven-and-thirty years,
and I've never heard of such a thing happening in an English ship.
And that it should be my ship. Wife on board, too."
I was hardly listening to him.
The Secret Sharer