|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from Under the Red Robe by Stanley Weyman:
actually taken a step towards this, when on the door, the outer
door, there came a sudden hurried knocking which jarred every
nerve in my body. I started, and stopped. I stood a moment in
the middle of the floor gazing at the door, as at a ghost. Then,
glad of action, glad of anything that might relieve the tension
of my feelings, I strode to it and pulled it sharply open.
On the threshold, his flushed face lit up by the light behind me,
stood one of the knaves whom I had brought with me to Auch. He
had been running, and panted heavily; but he had kept his wits,
and the instant I, appeared he grasped my sleeve.
'Ah! Monsieur, the very man!' he cried. 'Quick! come this
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from Protagoras by Plato:
Having regard not only to my present answer, but also to the whole of my
life, I shall be safer, if I am not mistaken, in saying that there are some
pleasant things which are not good, and that there are some painful things
which are good, and some which are not good, and that there are some which
are neither good nor evil.
And you would call pleasant, I said, the things which participate in
pleasure or create pleasure?
Certainly, he said.
Then my meaning is, that in as far as they are pleasant they are good; and
my question would imply that pleasure is a good in itself.
According to your favourite mode of speech, Socrates, 'Let us reflect about
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from Gambara by Honore de Balzac:
antagonistic powers opens with Alice's terror; she recognizes the
devil of the image of Saint Michael in her village. The musical
subject is worked out through an endless variety of phases. The
antithesis indispensable in opera is emphatically presented in a noble
/recitative/, such as a Gluck might have composed, between Bertram and
"Tu se sauras jamais a quel exces je t'aime.
"In that diabolical C minor, Bertram, with his terrible bass, begins
his work of undermining which will overthrow every effort of the
vehement, passionate man.
"Here, everything is appalling. Will the crime get possession 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 Ann Veronica by H. G. Wells:
a little on one side as he looked at her.
"And what was that dreadful confession you had to make?" he was
saying. His quiet, kindly smile implied his serene disbelief in
any confessible thing. Ann Veronica pushed aside a tea-cup and
the vestiges of her strawberries and cream, and put her elbows
before her on the table. "Mr. Manning," she said, "I HAVE a
confession to make."
"I wish you would use my Christian name," he said.
She attended to that, and then dismissed it as unimportant.
Something in her voice and manner conveyed an effect of unwonted
gravity to him. For the first time he seemed to wonder what it