|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from The Chouans by Honore de Balzac:
The stranger, who was humming a revolutionary tune, turned his head
haughtily towards Corentin. The two young men looked at each other for
a moment like cocks about to fight, and the glance they exchanged gave
birth to a hatred which lasted forever. The blue eye of the young
soldier was as frank and honest as the green eye of the other man was
false and malicious; the manners of the one had native grandeur, those
of the other were insinuating; one was eager in his advance, the other
deprecating; one commanded respect, the other sought it.
"Is the citizen du Gua Saint-Cyr here?" said a peasant, entering the
kitchen at that moment.
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge by Ambrose Bierce:
golden stars looking unfamiliar and grouped in strange
constellations. He was sure they were arranged in some order
which had a secret and malign significance. The wood on
either side was full of singular noises, among which -- once,
twice, and again -- he distinctly heard whispers in an
His neck was in pain and lifting his hand to it found it
horribly swollen. He knew that it had a circle of black
where the rope had bruised it. His eyes felt congested; he
could no longer close them. His tongue was swollen with
thirst; he relieved its fever by thrusting it forward from
An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from Massimilla Doni by Honore de Balzac:
golden glow that surrounds the Virgin in Titian's Assumption,--after
Raphael had invented it or had it revealed to him for the
Transfiguration,--and this man only longs to smirch the poem.
"By my advice he must needs combine his sensual joys and his heavenly
adoration in one woman. In short, like all the rest of us, he will
have a mistress. He had a divinity, and the wretched creature insists
on her being a female! I assure you, monsieur, he is resigning heaven.
I will not answer for it that he may not ultimately die of despair.
"O ye women's faces, delicately outlined in a pure and radiant oval,
reminding us of those creations of art where it has most successfully
competed with nature! Divine feet that cannot walk, slender forms that
|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 Alcibiades I by Plato:
overthrowing the paradox of Socrates, or merely following the argument
'whither the wind blows.' That no conclusion is arrived at is also in
accordance with the character of the earlier dialogues. The resemblances
or imitations of the Gorgias, Protagoras, and Euthydemus, which have been
observed in the Hippias, cannot with certainty be adduced on either side of
the argument. On the whole, more may be said in favour of the genuineness
of the Hippias than against it.
The Menexenus or Funeral Oration is cited by Aristotle, and is interesting
as supplying an example of the manner in which the orators praised 'the
Athenians among the Athenians,' falsifying persons and dates, and casting a
veil over the gloomier events of Athenian history. It exhibits an