|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from Phaedrus by Plato:
which is afterwards revealed to us. The extreme of commonplace is
contrasted with the most ideal and imaginative of speculations. Socrates,
half in jest and to satisfy his own wild humour, takes the disguise of
Lysias, but he is also in profound earnest and in a deeper vein of irony
than usual. Having improvised his own speech, which is based upon the
model of the preceding, he condemns them both. Yet the condemnation is not
to be taken seriously, for he is evidently trying to express an aspect of
the truth. To understand him, we must make abstraction of morality and of
the Greek manner of regarding the relation of the sexes. In this, as in
his other discussions about love, what Plato says of the loves of men must
be transferred to the loves of women before we can attach any serious
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from The Human Drift by Jack London:
the crosstrees, and there he froze to the ratlines. Two sailors
had to go after him to help him down.
All of which was bad enough had there been no worse. But he was
vicious, malignant, dirty, and without common decency. He was a
tall, powerful man, and he fought with everybody. And there was
no fairness in his fighting. His first fight on board, the first
day out, was with me, when he, desiring to cut a plug of chewing
tobacco, took my personal table-knife for the purpose, and
whereupon, I, on a hair-trigger, promptly exploded. After that he
fought with nearly every member of the crew. When his clothing
became too filthy to be bearable by the rest of us, we put it to
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood by Howard Pyle:
I'll take me of thy branches fair
And twine a wreath to deck my hair.'
"But ne'er came herring from the sea,
But good as he were in the tide;
Young Corydon came o'er the lea,
And sat him Phillis down beside.
So, presently, she changed her tone,
And 'gan to cease her from her moan,
'O willow, willow, willow, willow!
Thou mayst e'en keep thy garlands fair,
I want them not to deck my hair_.' "
The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood
|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 Master of the World by Jules Verne:
him at daybreak.
Our first purpose was to undertake the ascent of the mountain, with
the aid of two experienced guides. These men had ascended Mt.
Mitchell and others of the highest peaks of the Blueridge. They had
never, however, attempted the Great Eyrie, knowing that its walls of
inaccessible cliffs defended it on every side. Moreover, before the
recent startling occurrences the Great Eyrie had not particularly
attracted the attention of tourists. Mr. Smith knew the two guides
personally as men daring, skillful and trustworthy. They would stop
at no obstacle; and we were resolved to follow them through