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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 the nature of ambition to make men liars and cheats, and hide the truth in their breasts, and show, like jugglers, another thing in their mouths: to cut all friendships and enmities to the measure of their interest, and to make a good countenance without the help of a good will.
      - Sallust (Caius Sallustius Crispus)

Ambition breaks the ties of blood, and forgets the obligations of gratitude.
      - Sir Walter Scott

Ambition is no cure for love!
      - Sir Walter Scott,
        The Lay of the Last Minstrel
         (canto I, st. 27)

O fading honours of the dead!
  O high ambition, lowly laid!
      - Sir Walter Scott,
        The Lay of the Last Minstrel
         (canto II, st. 10)

It is the constant fault and inseparable ill quality of ambition never to look behind it.
      - Seneca (Lucius Annaeus Seneca)

Take away ambition and vanity, and where will be your heroes and patriots?
      - Seneca (Lucius Annaeus Seneca)

When once ambition has passed its natural limits, its progress is boundless.
      - Seneca (Lucius Annaeus Seneca)

Ambition's like a circle on the water,
  Which never ceases to enlarge itself,
    'Till by broad spreading it disperse to nought.
      - William Shakespeare

Dreams, indeed, are ambition; for the very substance of the ambitious is merely the shadow of a dream. And I hold ambition of so airy and light a quality, that it is but a shadow's shadow.
      - William Shakespeare

I charge thee, fling away ambition:
  By that sin fell the angels.
      - William Shakespeare

Lowliness is young ambition's ladder,
  Whereto the climber-upward turns his face;
    And when he once obtains the upmost round,
      He then unto the ladder turns his back,
        Looks in the clouds, scorning the base degrees
          By which he did ascend.
      - William Shakespeare

Vaulting ambition, which overleaps itself.
      - William Shakespeare

Who soars too near the sun, with golden wings, melts them.
      - William Shakespeare

Which dreams indeed are ambition, for the very substance of the ambitious is merely the shadow of a dream.
      - William Shakespeare,
        Hamlet Prince of Denmark
         (Guildenstern at II, ii)

But 'tis a common proof
  That lowliness is young ambition's ladder,
    Whereto the climber upward turns his face;
      But when he once attains the upmost round,
        He then unto the ladder turns his back,
          Looks in the clouds, scorning the base degrees
            By which he did ascend.
      - William Shakespeare, Julius Caesar
         (Brutus at II, i)

Ambition's debt is paid.
      - William Shakespeare, Julius Caesar
         (Brutus at III, i)

The noble Brutus
  Hath told you Caesar was ambitious.
    If it were so, it was a grievous fault,
      And grievously hat Caesar answered it.
      - William Shakespeare, Julius Caesar
         (Antony at III, i)

Ill-weaved ambition, how much art thou shrunk!
  When that this body did contain a spirit,
    A kingdom for it was too small a bound;
      But now two paces of the vilest earth
        Is room enough.
      - William Shakespeare,
        King Henry the Fourth, Part I
         (Prince Henry at V, iv)

Virtue is choked with foul ambition
  And charity chased hence by rancor's hand;
    Foul subornation is predominant
      And equity exiled your highness' land.
      - William Shakespeare,
        King Henry the Sixth, Part II
         (Gloucester at III, i)

I have no spur
  To prick the sides on my intent, but only
    Vaulting ambition, which o'erleaps itself
      And falls on th' other,--
      - William Shakespeare, Macbeth
         (Macbeth at I, vii)

By that sin fell the angels.
      - William Shakespeare,
        The Life of King Henry the Eighth
         (Wolsey at III, ii)

Mark but my fall and that that ruined me.
  Cromwell, I charge thee, fling away ambition!
    By that sin fell the angels; how can man then
      (The Image of his Maker) hope to win by it?
      - William Shakespeare,
        The Life of King Henry the Eighth
         (Wolsey at IV, i)

Farewell? a long farewell to all my greatness!
  This is the state of man: to-day he puts forth
    The tender leaves of hope; to-morrow blossoms,
      And bears his blushing honors thick upon him;
        The third day comes a frost, a killing frost,
          And when he thinks, good easy man, full surely
            His greatness is a-ripening, nips his root,
              And then he falls as I do.
      - William Shakespeare,
        The Life of King Henry VIII
         (Wolsay at III,ii)

Ambition is like hunger; it obeys no law but its appetite.
      - Henry Wheeler Shaw (used pseudonyms Josh Billings and Uncle Esek)

One may easily enough guard against ambition till five-and-twenty. It is not ambition's day.
      - William Shenstone


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