|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from Virginibus Puerisque by Robert Louis Stevenson:
man of Nain, with all the cheerfulness in the world.
The true parallel for play is not to be found, of course,
in conscious art, which, though it be derived from play, is
itself an abstract, impersonal thing, and depends largely upon
philosophical interests beyond the scope of childhood. It is
when we make castles in the air and personate the leading
character in our own romances, that we return to the spirit of
our first years. Only, there are several reasons why the
spirit is no longer so agreeable to indulge. Nowadays, when
we admit this personal element into our divagations we are apt
to stir up uncomfortable and sorrowful memories, and remind
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from The Poems of Goethe, Bowring, Tr. by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe:
Sun-s appeared to shine
In her dazzling charms.
Who hath torn her from mine arms?
Could no magic band
Make her in her flight delay?
Say, where now her land?
Where, alas, the way?
WHEN THE FOX DIES, HIS SKIN COUNTS.*
(* The name of a game, known in English as "Jack's alight.")
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from Alcibiades II by Platonic Imitator:
SOCRATES: It may be, in short, that the possession of all the sciences, if
unaccompanied by the knowledge of the best, will more often than not injure
the possessor. Consider the matter thus:--Must we not, when we intend
either to do or say anything, suppose that we know or ought to know that
which we propose so confidently to do or say?
ALCIBIADES: Yes, in my opinion.
SOCRATES: We may take the orators for an example, who from time to time
advise us about war and peace, or the building of walls and the
construction of harbours, whether they understand the business in hand, or
only think that they do. Whatever the city, in a word, does to another
city, or in the management of her own affairs, all happens by the counsel
|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 An Unsocial Socialist by George Bernard Shaw:
to the floor. He picked it up and handed it to her, saying:
"And, in good time, here is the golden idol!"
"What?" said Agatha, confused.
"I call you the golden idol," he said. "When we are apart I
always imagine your face as a face of gold, with eyes and teeth
of bdellium, or chalcedony, or agate, or any wonderful unknown
stones of appropriate colors."
Agatha, witless and dumb, could only look down deprecatingly.
"You think you ought to be angry with me, and you do not know
exactly how to make me feel that you are so. Is that it?"
"No. Quite the contrary. At least--I mean that you are wrong. I