|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:
made for this true cause of suffering in youth; but by the
mere fact of a prolonged existence, we outgrow either the fact
or else the feeling. Either we become so callously accustomed
to our own useless figure in the world, or else - and this,
thank God, in the majority of cases - we so collect about us
the interest or the love of our fellows, so multiply our
effective part in the affairs of life, that we need to
entertain no longer the question of our right to be.
And so in the majority of cases, a man who fancies
himself dying, will get cold comfort from the very youthful
view expressed in this essay. He, as a living man, has some
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from Madam How and Lady Why by Charles Kingsley:
least I know: that any little child, who will use the faculties
God has given him, may find an antidote to all its poison in the
meanest herb beneath his feet.
There, you do not understand me, my boys; and the best prayer I
can offer for you is, perhaps, that you should never need to
understand me: but if that sore need should come, and that poison
should begin to spread its mist over your brains and hearts, then
you will be proof against it; just in proportion as you have used
the eyes and the common sense which God has given you, and have
considered the lilies of the field, how they grow.
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from Enemies of Books by William Blades:
books published but 30, 40, or 50 years ago of an ephemeral character.
Historical and theological books are very rare; novels and poetry of that
period are absolutely not to be found; medical and law books are more common.
I am bound to say that in no country have more books been printed and more
destroyed than in Holland. W. MULLER."
The policy of buying up all objectionable literature seems to me,
I confess, very short-sighted, and in most cases would lead to a greatly
increased reprint; it certainly would in these latitudes.
From the Church of Rome to the Church of England is no great leap,
and Mr. Smith, the Brighton bookseller, gives evidence thus:--
"It may be worth your while to note that the clergy of the last two
|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 Meno by Plato:
never known of any one else who did, in my judgment.
MENO: Then you have never met Gorgias when he was at Athens?
SOCRATES: Yes, I have.
MENO: And did you not think that he knew?
SOCRATES: I have not a good memory, Meno, and therefore I cannot now tell
what I thought of him at the time. And I dare say that he did know, and
that you know what he said: please, therefore, to remind me of what he
said; or, if you would rather, tell me your own view; for I suspect that
you and he think much alike.
MENO: Very true.
SOCRATES: Then as he is not here, never mind him, and do you tell me: By