|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from Theaetetus by Plato:
fawning speech; the other character is that of the man who is able to do
all this kind of service smartly and neatly, but knows not how to wear his
cloak like a gentleman; still less with the music of discourse can he hymn
the true life aright which is lived by immortals or men blessed of heaven.
THEODORUS: If you could only persuade everybody, Socrates, as you do me,
of the truth of your words, there would be more peace and fewer evils among
SOCRATES: Evils, Theodorus, can never pass away; for there must always
remain something which is antagonistic to good. Having no place among the
gods in heaven, of necessity they hover around the mortal nature, and this
earthly sphere. Wherefore we ought to fly away from earth to heaven as
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from Under the Red Robe by Stanley Weyman:
fairly tore in pieces. And all the time her husband
stood watching her greedily, my platter still in his
hand, as if her strange occupation fascinated him.
I stood looking, also, for half a minute, perhaps; then
the man's eye, raised for a single second to the door-
way, met mine. He started, muttered something to his
wife, and, quick as thought, he kicked the light out,
leaving the shed in darkness. Cursing him for an ill-
conditioned fellow, I walked back to the fire, laughing.
In a twinkling he followed me, his face dark with rage.
'VENTRE-SAINT-GRIS!' he exclaimed, thrusting himself
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from Historical Lecturers and Essays by Charles Kingsley:
in his calling, which was to heal, and not to kill.
These were the golden years of Rondelet's life; but trouble was
coming on him, and a stormy sunset after a brilliant day. He lost
his sister-in-law, to whom he owed all his fortunes, and who had
watched ever since over him and his wife like a mother; then he lost
his wife herself under most painful circumstances; then his best-
beloved daughter. Then he married again, and lost the son who was
born to him; and then came, as to many of the best in those days,
even sorer trials, trials of the conscience, trials of faith.
For in the meantime Rondelet had become a Protestant, like many of
the wisest men round him; like, so it would seem from the event, 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 Twice Told Tales by Nathaniel Hawthorne:
"How soundly he sleeps!" whispered the old gentleman. "From what
a depth he draws that easy breath! Such sleep as that, brought on
without an opiate, would be worth more to me than half my income;
for it would suppose health and an untroubled mind."
"And youth, besides," said the lady. "Healthy and quiet age does
not sleep thus. Our slumber is no more like his than our
The longer they looked the more did this elderly couple feel
interested in the unknown youth, to whom the wayside and the
maple shade were as a secret chamber, with the rich gloom of
damask curtains brooding over him. Perceiving that a stray
Twice Told Tales