|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin by Benjamin Franklin:
but I had a good deal with regard to the appearance of it.
I made it a rule to forbear all direct contradiction to the
sentiments of others, and all positive assertion of my own.
I even forbid myself, agreeably to the old laws of our Junto,
the use of every word or expression in the language that imported
a fix'd opinion, such as certainly, undoubtedly, etc., and I adopted,
instead of them, I conceive, I apprehend, or I imagine a thing to be
so or so; or it so appears to me at present. When another asserted
something that I thought an error, I deny'd myself the pleasure
of contradicting him abruptly, and of showing immediately some
absurdity in his proposition; and in answering I began by observing
The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from Gobseck by Honore de Balzac:
knowledge of it, for I should appear as a witness. The Count thanked
me with a smile of good-will.
"In the debate which followed, Gobseck showed greed enough and skill
enough to baffle a whole congress of diplomatists; but in the end I
drew up an instrument, in which the Count acknowledged the receipt of
eighty-five thousand francs, interest included, in consideration of
which Gobseck undertook to return the diamonds to the Count.
" 'What waste!' exclaimed he as he put his signature to the agreement.
'How is it possible to bridge such a gulf?'
" 'Have you many children, sir?' Gobseck asked gravely.
"The Count winced at the question; it was as if the old money-lender,
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from Charmides and Other Poems by Oscar Wilde:
Insidious lovers weave when they would win
Some fenced fortress, and stole back again, nor thought it sin
To yield her treasure unto one so fair,
And lay beside him, thirsty with love's drouth,
Called him soft names, played with his tangled hair,
And with hot lips made havoc of his mouth
Afraid he might not wake, and then afraid
Lest he might wake too soon, fled back, and then, fond renegade,
Returned to fresh assault, and all day long
Sat at his side, and laughed at her new toy,
And held his hand, and sang her sweetest song,
|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 American Notes by Rudyard Kipling:
coast of the United States. To this furiously answers the
patriotic American:--"We should not pay. We should invent a
Columbiad in Pittsburg or--or anywhere else, and blow any
outsider into h--l."
They might invent. They might lay waste their cities and retire
inland, for they can subsist entirely on their own produce.
Meantime, in a war waged the only way it could be waged by an
unscrupulous Power, their coast cities and their dock-yards would
be ashes. They could construct their navy inland if they liked,
but you could never bring a ship down to the water-ways, as they