|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from Alcibiades I by Plato:
SOCRATES: What is the inference?
ALCIBIADES: Why, that if they were educated they would be trained
athletes, and he who means to rival them ought to have knowledge and
experience when he attacks them; but now, as they have become politicians
without any special training, why should I have the trouble of learning and
practising? For I know well that by the light of nature I shall get the
better of them.
SOCRATES: My dear friend, what a sentiment! And how unworthy of your
noble form and your high estate!
ALCIBIADES: What do you mean, Socrates; why do you say so?
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from Facino Cane by Honore de Balzac:
his tones thrilled through me like an electric shock. I gave him my
arm, and we went.
Outside in the street he said, "Will you take me back to Venice? Will
you be my guide? Will you put faith in me? You shall be richer than
ten of the richest houses in Amsterdam or London, richer than
Rothschild; in short, you shall have the fabulous wealth of the
The man was mad, I thought; but in his voice there was a potent
something which I obeyed. I allowed him to lead, and he went in the
direction of the Fosses de la Bastille, as if he could see; walking
till he reached a lonely spot down by the river, just where the bridge
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from The Mayflower Compact:
In the name of God, Amen. We, whose names are underwritten,
the Loyal Subjects of our dread Sovereigne Lord, King James,
by the Grace of God, of Great Britaine, France, and Ireland,
King, Defender of the Faith, &c.
Having undertaken for the Glory of God, and Advancement of
the Christian Faith, and the Honour of our King and Country,
a Voyage to plant the first colony in the Northerne Parts
of Virginia; doe, by these Presents, solemnly and mutually
in the Presence of God and one of another, covenant and
combine ourselves together into a civill Body Politick,
for our better Ordering and Preservation, and Furtherance
|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 Cratylus by Plato:
persons and thoughts of the age in which it was written. Had the treatise
of Antisthenes upon words, or the speculations of Cratylus, or some other
Heracleitean of the fourth century B.C., on the nature of language been
preserved to us; or if we had lived at the time, and been 'rich enough to
attend the fifty-drachma course of Prodicus,' we should have understood
Plato better, and many points which are now attributed to the extravagance
of Socrates' humour would have been found, like the allusions of
Aristophanes in the Clouds, to have gone home to the sophists and
grammarians of the day.
For the age was very busy with philological speculation; and many questions
were beginning to be asked about language which were parallel to other