|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry:
are wisest. They are the magi.
End of this Project Gutenberg Etext of THE GIFT OF THE MAGI.
The Gift of the Magi
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from Expression of Emotion in Man and Animals by Charles Darwin:
putting the back of his hand towards his lips. Mrs. Barber says
that the Kafirs and Fingoes express astonishment by a serious look
and by placing the right hand upon the mouth, Littering the word _mawo_,
which means `wonderful.' The Bushmen are said to put their
right hands to their necks, bending their heads backwards.
Mr. Winwood Reade has observed that the negroes on the West Coast
of Africa, when surprised, clap their hands to their mouths,
saying at the same time, "My mouth cleaves to me," i. e. to my hands;
and he has heard that this is their usual gesture on such occasions.
Captain Speedy informs me that the Abyssinians place their right hand
to the forehead, with the palm outside. Lastly, Mr. Washington Matthews
Expression of Emotion in Man and Animals
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from On the Duty of Civil Disobedience by Henry David Thoreau:
A minority is powerless while it conforms to the majority;
it is not even a minority then; but it is irresistible when
it clogs by its whole weight. If the alternative is to keep
all just men in prison, or give up war and slavery, the
State will not hesitate which to choose. If a thousand men
were not to pay their tax bills this year, that would not be
a violent and bloody measure, as it would be to pay them,
and enable the State to commit violence and shed innocent
blood. This is, in fact, the definition of a peaceable
revolution, if any such is possible. If the tax-gatherer,
or any other public officer, asks me, as one has done, "But
On the Duty of Civil Disobedience
|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 Poems of Goethe, Bowring, Tr. by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe:
best, as it facilitates reference to the original. The
circumstances attending or giving rise to the production of any
of the Poems will be found specified in those cases in which they
have been ascertained by me.
Having said thus much by way of explanation, I now leave the
book to speak for itself, and to testify to its own character.
Whether viewed with a charitable eye by the kindly reader, who
will make due allowance for the difficulties attending its
execution, or received by the critic, who will judge of it only
by its own merits, with the unfriendly welcome which it very
probably deserves, I trust that I shall at least be pardoned for