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Today's Stichomancy for Stephen Colbert

The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from The Divine Comedy (translated by H.F. Cary) by Dante Alighieri:

Piccarda, in the tardiest sphere thus plac'd, Here 'mid these other blessed also blest. Our hearts, whose high affections burn alone With pleasure, from the Holy Spirit conceiv'd, Admitted to his order dwell in joy. And this condition, which appears so low, Is for this cause assign'd us, that our vows Were in some part neglected and made void." Whence I to her replied: "Something divine Beams in your countenance, wond'rous fair, From former knowledge quite transmuting you.


The Divine Comedy (translated by H.F. Cary)
The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from King Lear by William Shakespeare:

He smil'd at it. I told him you were coming: His answer was, 'The worse.' Of Gloucester's treachery And of the loyal service of his son When I inform'd him, then he call'd me sot And told me I had turn'd the wrong side out. What most he should dislike seems pleasant to him; What like, offensive. Gon. [to Edmund] Then shall you go no further. It is the cowish terror of his spirit, That dares not undertake. He'll not feel wrongs Which tie him to an answer. Our wishes on the way


King Lear
The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from Emma McChesney & Co. by Edna Ferber:

Emma tried to frown as she surveyed Sophy's bright eyes, her rosy cheeks, her broad bosom, her ample hips--all that made Sophy an object to comfort and rest the eye.

"Don't dispute, Sophy. Sophy has educated her children, married them off, and welcomed their children. She thinks that excuses her for having been frivolous and extravagant at sixteen. But we know better, don't we? I'm using you as a horrible example, Sophy."

Sophy turned affably to the listening three.

"Don't let her string you," she said, and winked one knowing eye.


Emma McChesney & Co.
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 Alcibiades I by Plato:

existence, which otherwise we can never know.

ALCIBIADES: You say truly.

SOCRATES: Come, now, I beseech you, tell me with whom you are conversing? --with whom but with me?

ALCIBIADES: Yes.

SOCRATES: As I am, with you?

ALCIBIADES: Yes.

SOCRATES: That is to say, I, Socrates, am talking?

ALCIBIADES: Yes.

SOCRATES: And Alcibiades is my hearer?

ALCIBIADES: Yes.