|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:
he has detected several repetitions and other marks of haste. He cannot
agree with Phaedrus in the extreme value which he sets upon this
performance, because he is afraid of doing injustice to Anacreon and Sappho
and other great writers, and is almost inclined to think that he himself,
or rather some power residing within him, could make a speech better than
that of Lysias on the same theme, and also different from his, if he may be
allowed the use of a few commonplaces which all speakers must equally
Phaedrus is delighted at the prospect of having another speech, and
promises that he will set up a golden statue of Socrates at Delphi, if he
keeps his word. Some raillery ensues, and at length Socrates, conquered by
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from Camille by Alexandre Dumas:
She held up her lips to me, smoothed her hair again, and we went
out of the room, she singing, and I almost beside myself.
In the next room she stopped for a moment and said to me in a low
"It must seem strange to you that I am ready to take you at a
moment's notice. Shall I tell you why? It is," she continued,
taking my hand and placing it against her heart so that I could
feel how rapidly and violently it palpitated; "it is because I
shall not live as long as others, and I have promised myself to
live more quickly."
"Don't speak to me like that, I entreat you."
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from Paradise Lost by John Milton:
Attends thee; and each word, each motion, forms;
Nor less think we in Heaven of thee on Earth
Than of our fellow-servant, and inquire
Gladly into the ways of God with Man:
For God, we see, hath honoured thee, and set
On Man his equal love: Say therefore on;
For I that day was absent, as befel,
Bound on a voyage uncouth and obscure,
Far on excursion toward the gates of Hell;
Squared in full legion (such command we had)
To see that none thence issued forth a spy,
|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 Bureaucracy by Honore de Balzac:
the mayors of Paris, etc."
The person who requires so much typographic space was at this time
occupying an area five feet six in length by thirty-six inches in
width in a bed, his head adorned with a cotton night-cap tied on by
flame-colored ribbons; attended by Despleins, the King's surgeon, and
young doctor Bianchon, flanked by two old female relatives, surrounded
by phials of all kinds, bandages, appliances, and various mortuary
instruments, and watched over by the curate of Saint-Roch, who was
advising him to think of his salvation.
La Billardiere's division occupied the upper floor of a magnificent
mansion, in which the vast official ocean of a ministry was contained.