|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from Gettysburg Address by Abraham Lincoln:
Four score and seven years ago, our fathers brought forth
upon this continent a new nation: conceived in liberty, and
dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
Now we are engaged in a great civil war. . .testing whether
that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated. . .
can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war.
We have come to dedicate a portion of that field as a final resting place
for those who here gave their lives that this nation might live.
It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.
But, in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate. . .we cannot consecrate. . .
we cannot hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead,
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from The Schoolmistress and Other Stories by Anton Chekhov:
past, and forget it as though it had never been at all, as though
it had been a dream, and begin to live anew. Don't listen to the
devil,' says I; 'he will bring you to no good, he'll draw you
into a snare. Now you want money,' says I, ' but in a very
little while you'll be wanting something else, and then more and
more. If you want to be happy,' says I, the chief thing is not to
want anything. Yes. . . . If,' says I, 'if Fate has wronged you
and me cruelly it's no good asking for her favor and bowing down
to her, but you despise her and laugh at her, or else she will
laugh at you.' That's what I said to him. . . .
"Two years later I ferried him across to this side, and he was
The Schoolmistress and Other Stories
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from Night and Day by Virginia Woolf:
giving her fellow-diners no further cause to judge her eccentric. Her
soliloquy crystallized itself into little fragmentary phrases emerging
suddenly from the turbulence of her thought, particularly when she had
to exert herself in any way, either to move, to count money, or to
choose a turning. "To know the truth--to accept without bitterness"--
those, perhaps, were the most articulate of her utterances, for no one
could have made head or tail of the queer gibberish murmured in front
of the statue of Francis, Duke of Bedford, save that the name of Ralph
occurred frequently in very strange connections, as if, having spoken
it, she wished, superstitiously, to cancel it by adding some other
word that robbed the sentence with his name in it of any meaning.
|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 A Second Home by Honore de Balzac:
a great book on Law.
But he was not allowed to enjoy the monastic peace he had hoped for.
When the celestial Angelique saw him desert worldly society to work at
home with such regularity, she tried to convert him. It had been a
real sorrow to her to know that her husband's opinions were not
strictly Christian; and she sometimes wept as she reflected that if
her husband should die it would be in a state of final impenitence, so
that she could not hope to snatch him from the eternal fires of Hell.
Thus Granville was a mark for the mean ideas, the vacuous arguments,
the narrow views by which his wife--fancying she had achieved the
first victory--tried to gain a second by bringing him back within the