|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from Nana, Miller's Daughter, Captain Burle, Death of Olivier Becaille by Emile Zola:
wrought terrible havoc in that sanguine, uncontaminated nature. The
grave man, the chamberlain who was wont to tread the state
apartments at the Tuileries with slow and dignified step, was now
nightly driven to plunge his teeth into his bolster, while with sobs
of exasperation he pictured to himself a sensual shape which never
changed. But this time he was determined to make an end of the
torture. Coming along the highroad in the deep quiet of the
gloaming, he had meditated a fierce course of action. And the
moment he had finished his opening remarks he tried to take hold of
Nana with both hands.
"No, no! Take care!" she said simply. She was not vexed; nay, she
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from The Goodness of St. Rocque and Other Stories by Alice Dunbar:
purple compressed mouth.
Then John came, introducing himself, serpent-wise, into the Eden
of her bosom.
John was Tony's brother, huge and bluff too, but fair and blond,
with the beauty of Northern Italy. With the same lack of race
pride which Tony had displayed in selecting his German spouse,
John had taken unto himself Betty, a daughter of Erin,
aggressive, powerful, and cross-eyed. He turned up now, having
heard of this illness, and assumed an air of remarkable authority
A hunted look stole into the dull eyes, and after John had
The Goodness of St. Rocque and Other Stories
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from Meno by Plato:
wanting prudence, which is only a sort of confidence? When a man has no
sense he is harmed by courage, but when he has sense he is profited?
SOCRATES: And the same may be said of temperance and quickness of
apprehension; whatever things are learned or done with sense are
profitable, but when done without sense they are hurtful?
MENO: Very true.
SOCRATES: And in general, all that the soul attempts or endures, when
under the guidance of wisdom, ends in happiness; but when she is under the
guidance of folly, in the opposite?
MENO: That appears to be true.
|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 Protagoras by Plato:
mistaken, you do not understand the word 'hard' (chalepon) in the sense
which Simonides intended; and I must correct you, as Prodicus corrects me
when I use the word 'awful' (deinon) as a term of praise. If I say that
Protagoras or any one else is an 'awfully' wise man, he asks me if I am not
ashamed of calling that which is good 'awful'; and then he explains to me
that the term 'awful' is always taken in a bad sense, and that no one
speaks of being 'awfully' healthy or wealthy, or of 'awful' peace, but of
'awful' disease, 'awful' war, 'awful' poverty, meaning by the term 'awful,'
evil. And I think that Simonides and his countrymen the Ceans, when they
spoke of 'hard' meant 'evil,' or something which you do not understand.
Let us ask Prodicus, for he ought to be able to answer questions about the