|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from St. Ives by Robert Louis Stevenson:
Another, and a quieter. They draw fine ale, however - fair, mild
ale. You will find yourself among friends, among brothers. You
will hear some very daring sentiments expressed!' he cried,
expanding his small chest. 'Monarchy, Christianity - all the
trappings of a bloated past - the Free Confraternity of Durham and
Here was a devil of a prospect for a gentleman whose whole design
was to avoid observation! The Free Confraternity had no charms for
me; daring sentiments were no part of my baggage; and I tried,
instead, a little cold water.
'You seem to forget, sir, that my Emperor has re-established
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from The House of Dust by Conrad Aiken:
I gave her roses, a ring with opals;
These hands have touched her head.
'I bound her to me in all soft ways,
I bound her to me in a net of days,
Yet now she has gone in silence and said no word.
How can we face these dazzling things, I ask you?
There is no use: we cry: and are not heard.
'They cover a body with roses . . . I shall not see it . . .
Must one return to the lifeless walls of a city
Whose soul is charred by fire? . . . '
His eyes are closed, his lips press tightly together.