|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from Flame and Shadow by Sara Teasdale:
Children I played with when I was a child,
Louise comes back with her brown hair braided,
Annie with ringlets warm and wild.
Only in sleep Time is forgotten --
What may have come to them, who can know?
Yet we played last night as long ago,
And the doll-house stood at the turn of the stair.
The years had not sharpened their smooth round faces,
I met their eyes and found them mild --
Do they, too, dream of me, I wonder,
And for them am I too a child?
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from The Country of the Pointed Firs by Sarah Orne Jewett:
the effects of isolation and hardship on the inhabitants who lived
in the decaying fishing villages along the Maine coast.
Jewett died in 1909, eight years after an accident that
effectively ended her writing career. Her reputation had grown
during her lifetime, extending far beyond the bounds of the New
England she loved.
I The Return
II Mrs. Todd
III The Schoolhouse
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from Sarrasine by Honore de Balzac:
light fell upon them, caused curious effects of light and shadow which
deprived that face of its last vestige of resemblance to the human
countenance. And then, too, the lapse of years had drawn the fine,
yellow skin so close to the bones that it described a multitude of
wrinkles everywhere, either circular like the ripples in the water
caused by a stone which a child throws in, or star-shaped like a pane
of glass cracked by a blow; but everywhere very deep, and as close
together as the leaves of a closed book. We often see more hideous old
men; but what contributed more than aught else to give to the spectre
that rose before us the aspect of an artificial creation was the red
and white paint with which he glistened. The eyebrows shone in the
|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 Fanny Herself by Edna Ferber:
shrewdly, like her mother. She even went to the Haley House
to buy, when necessary, and Winnebagoans, passing the hotel,
would see her slim, erect figure in one of the sample-rooms
with its white-covered tables laden with china, or
glassware, or Christmas goods, or whatever that particular
salesman happened to carry. They lifted their eye-brows at
first, but, somehow, it was impossible to associate this
girl with the blithe, shirt-sleeved, cigar-smoking traveling
men who followed her about the sample-room, order book in
As time went on she introduced some new features into the