|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from 'Twixt Land & Sea by Joseph Conrad:
He had turned about meantime; and we, the two strangers in the
ship, faced each other in identical attitudes.
"Your ladder - " he murmured, after a silence. "Who'd have thought
of finding a ladder hanging over at night in a ship anchored out
here! I felt just then a very unpleasant faintness. After the
life I've been leading for nine weeks, anybody would have got out
of condition. I wasn't capable of swimming round as far as your
rudder-chains. And, lo and behold! there was a ladder to get hold
of. After I gripped it I said to myself, 'What's the good?' When
I saw a man's head looking over I thought I would swim away
presently and leave him shouting - in whatever language it was. I
'Twixt Land & Sea
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from The Prince by Nicolo Machiavelli:
he set him to write the "History of Florence," rather than employ him
in the state. And it is on the literary side of his character, and
there alone, that we find no weakness and no failure.
Although the light of almost four centuries has been focused on "The
Prince," its problems are still debatable and interesting, because
they are the eternal problems between the ruled and their rulers. Such
as they are, its ethics are those of Machiavelli's contemporaries; yet
they cannot be said to be out of date so long as the governments of
Europe rely on material rather than on moral forces. Its historical
incidents and personages become interesting by reason of the uses
which Machiavelli makes of them to illustrate his theories of
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from The Poems of Goethe, Bowring, Tr. by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe:
That the sun with joy your labours see;
When ye plant, your trees in rows contrive,
For he makes the Regular to thrive.
E'en the floods that through the channel rush
Must not fail in fulness or in gush;
And as Senderud, from mountain high,
Rises pure, in pureness must it die.
Not to weaken water's gentle fall,
Carefully cleanse out the channels all;
Salamander, snake, and rush, and reed,--
All destroy,--each monster and each weed.
|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 Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne:
passed the limit of perpetual snow, which, on account of the moisture
of the climate, is at a greater elevation in Iceland than the high
latitude would give reason to suppose. The cold was excessively keen.
The wind was blowing violently. I was exhausted. The Professor saw
that my limbs were refusing to perform their office, and in spite of
his impatience he decided on stopping. He therefore spoke to the
hunter, who shook his head, saying:
"It seems we must go higher," said my uncle.
Then he asked Hans for his reason.
"_Mistour,_" replied the guide.
Journey to the Center of the Earth