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AMBITION
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[ Also see Achievement Applause Aspiration Desire Endeavor Enterprise Enthusiasm Expectation Fame Glory Hope Indolence Motive Progress Purpose Reputation Restlessness Success Wishes Youth Zeal ]

It is by attempting to reach the top at a single leap that so much misery is produced in the world.
      - William Cobbett

Ambition is to the mind what the cap is to the falcon; it blinds us first, and then compels us to tower by reason of our blindness. But alas! when we are at the summit of a vain ambition, we are also at the depth of misery.
      - Charles Caleb Colton

Ambition makes the same mistake concerning power that avarice makes concerning wealth. She begins by accumulating power as a mean to happiness, and she finishes by continuing to accumulate it as an end.
      - Charles Caleb Colton

All ambitions are lawful except those which climb upward upon the miseries and credulities of mankind.
      - Joseph Conrad (Teodor Josef Konrad Korzeniowski)

On what strange stuff Ambition feeds!
      - Eliza Cook, Thomas Hood

Ambition aspires to descend.
      - Pierre Corneille

Ambition becomes displeasing when it is once satiated; there is a reaction; and as our spirit, till our last sigh, is always aiming toward some object, it falls back on itself, having nothing else on which to rest; and having reached the summit, it longs to descend.
      - Pierre Corneille

All my ambition is, I own,
  To profit and to please unknown;
    Like streams supplied from springs below,
      Which scatter blessings as they go.
      - Nathaniel Cotton

By low ambition and the thirst of praise.
      - William Cowper, Table Talk (l. 591)

On the summit see,
  The seals of office glitter in his eyes;
    He climbs, he pants, he grasps them! At his heels,
      Close at his heels, a demagogue ascends,
        And with a dexterous jerk soon twists him down,
          And wins them, but to lose them in his turn.
      - William Cowper, Task (bk. IV, l. 58)

The great refusal.
  [It., Il gran rifiuto.]
      - Dante ("Dante Alighieri"), Inferno
         (canto III, LX),
        supposedly referring to Celestive V, elected Pope in 1294

Ambition is the mind's immodesty.
      - Sir William D'Avenant

Ambition's monstrous stomach does increase
  By eating, and it fears to starve, unless
    It still may feed, and all it sees devour;
      Ambition is not tir'd with toll nor cloy'd with power.
      - Sir William D'Avenant

Be not with honor's gilded baits beguil'd,
  Nor think ambition wise, because 'tis brave;
    For though we like it, as a forward child,
      'Tis so unsound, her cradle is the grave.
      - Sir William D'Avenant

Think not ambition wise, because 't is brave.
      - Sir William D'Avenant

Ambition is like love, impatient both of delays and rivals.
      - Sir John Denham

But wild Ambition loves to slide, not stand,
  And Fortune's ice prefers to Virtue's land.
      - John Dryden, Absalom and Achitophel
         (pt. I, l. 198)

Be nice to people on your way up because you might meet 'em on your way down.
      - Jimmy Durante

If thy heart fails thee, climb not at all.
      - Elizabeth I, Worthies of England
         (vol. I, p. 419),
        by Thomas Fuller, (written on window pane under words written by Raleigh)

Most natures are insolvent; cannot satisfy their own wants, have an ambition out of all proportion to their practical force, and so do lean and beg day and night continually.
      - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Ambition is the germ from which all growth of nobleness proceeds.
      - Thomas Dunn English

Slight not what's near through aiming at what's far.
      - Euripides

Don't let ambition get so far ahead that it loses sight of the job at hand.
      - William Feather

The tragedy is that so many have ambition and so few have ability.
      - William Feather

Nothing can be more destructive to ambition, and the passion for conquest, than the true system of astronomy. What a poor thing is even the whole globe in comparison of the infinite extent of nature!
      - Bernard de Bovier de Fontenelle


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