|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from Heroes by Charles Kingsley:
gold cicalas among the tresses of their golden hair; for like
the cicalas they sprang from the earth, and like the cicalas
they sing all day, rejoicing in the genial sun. What would
you do, son Theseus, if you were king of such a land?'
Then Theseus stood astonished, as he looked across the broad
bright sea, and saw the fair Attic shore, from Sunium to
Hymettus and Pentelicus, and all the mountain peaks which
girdle Athens round. But Athens itself he could not see, for
purple AEgina stood before it, midway across the sea.
Then his heart grew great within him, and he said, 'If I were
king of such a land I would rule it wisely and well in wisdom
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from Letters of Two Brides by Honore de Balzac:
And the thrust of his horn, sharper-pointed than Phoebe's crescent.
I've scaled, on my lips the lilt of an Andalusian dance,
The steep redoubt under a rain of fire;
I've staked my life upon a hazard of the dice
Careless, as though it were a gold doubloon.
My hand would seek the ball out of the cannon's mouth,
But now meseems I grow more timid than a crouching hair,
Or a child spying some ghost in the curtain's folds.
For when your sweet eye rests on me,
Any icy sweat covers my brow, my knees give way,
I tremble, shrink, my courage gone.
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from The Perfect Wagnerite: A Commentary on the Niblung's Ring by George Bernard Shaw:
contrivances as our codes and churches than a fellow of the Royal
Society will touch his hat to the squire and listen to the
village curate's sermons. This is precisely what must happen some
day if life continues thrusting towards higher and higher
organization as it has hitherto done. As most of our English
professional men are to Australian bushmen, so, we must suppose,
will the average man of some future day be to Julius Caesar. Let
any man of middle age, pondering this prospect consider what has
happened within a single generation to the articles of faith his
father regarded as eternal nay, to the very scepticisms and
blasphemies of his youth (Bishop Colenso's criticism of 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 Symposium by Plato:
that of Pausanias as the political, that of Eryximachus as the scientific,
that of Aristophanes as the artistic (!), that of Socrates as the
philosophical. But these and similar distinctions are not found in Plato;
--they are the points of view of his critics, and seem to impede rather
than to assist us in understanding him.
When the turn of Socrates comes round he cannot be allowed to disturb the
arrangement made at first. With the leave of Phaedrus he asks a few
questions, and then he throws his argument into the form of a speech
(compare Gorg., Protag.). But his speech is really the narrative of a
dialogue between himself and Diotima. And as at a banquet good manners
would not allow him to win a victory either over his host or any of the