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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 ]

Ambition thinks no face so beautiful as that which looks from under a crown.
      - Sir Philip Sidney (Sydney)

Ambition, like love, can abide no lingering; and ever urgeth on his own successes, hating nothing but what may stop them.
      - Sir Philip Sidney (Sydney)

To be ambitious of true honor, of the true glory end perfection of our natures, is the very principle and incentive of virtue; but to be ambitious of titles, of place, of ceremonial respects and civil pageantry, is as vain and little as the things are which we court.
      - Sir Philip Sidney (Sydney)

Ambition is frequently the only refuge which life has left to the denied or mortified affections. We chide at the grasping eye, the daring wing, the soul that seems to thirst for sovereignty only, and know not that the flight of this ambitious bird has been from a bosom or home that is filled with ashes.
      - William Gilmore Simms

There is a native baseness in the ambition which seeks beyond its desert, that never shows more conspicuously than when, no matter how, it temporarily gains its object.
      - William Gilmore Simms

Ambition is an idol, on whose wings great minds are carried only to extreme,--to be sublimely great, or to be nothing.
      - Thomas Southerne (Southern)

Ambition is our idol, on whose wings
  Great minds are carry'd only to extreme;
    To be sublimely great, or to be nothing.
      - Thomas Southerne (Southern),
        The Loyal Brother (act I, sc. 1)

He who ascends to mountain tops, shall find
  The loftiest peaks most wrapt in clouds and snow;
    He who surpasses or subdues mankind,
      Must look down on the hate of those below.
      - Robert Southey

It is not for man to rest in absolute contentment. He is born to hopes and aspirations, as the sparks fly upward, he has brutified his nature, and quenched the spirit of immortality, which is his portion.
      - Robert Southey

Those that were up themselves, kept others low;
  Those that were low themselves, held others hard;
    He suffered them to ryse or greater grow;
      But every one did strive his fellow down to throw.
      - Edmund Spenser

This raging, vehement desire,
  Of sovereignty no satisfaction finds;
    But in the breasts of men doth ever roll
      The restless stone of Sisyph, to torment them,
        And as his heart, who stole the heav'nly fire,
          The vulture gnaws, so doth that monster rent them;
            Had they, the world, the world would not content them.
      - John Sterling

Ambition often puts men upon doing the meanest offices; so climbing is performed in the same posture with creeping.
      - Jonathan Swift

If you wish to reach the highest, begin at the lowest.
  [Lat., Si vis ad summum progredi ab infimo ordire.]
      - Syrus (Publilius Syrus), Maxims

Ambition destroys its possessor.
      - The Talmud, Babylonian Talmud, Yoma (86)

Wisdom is corrupted by ambition, even when the quality of the ambition is intellectual. For ambition even of this quality, is but a form of self-love.
      - Sir Henry Taylor (2)

The shadow, wheresoever it passes, leaves no track behind it; and of the greatest personages of the world, when they are once dead, then there remains no more than if they had never lived. How many preceding emperors of the Assyrian monarchy were lords of the world as well as Alexander! and now we remain not only ignorant of their monuments, but know not so much as their names. And of the same great Alexander, what have we at this day except the vain noise of his fame?
      - Jeremy Taylor

There is no greater unreasonableness in the world than in the designs of ambition; for it makes the present certainly miserable, unsatisfactory, troublesome, and discontented, for the uncertain acquisition of an honor which nothing can secure; and, besides a thousand possibilities of miscarrying, it relies upon no greater certainty than our life; and when we are dead all the world sees who was the fool.
      - Jeremy Taylor

We should reflect that whatever tempts the pride and vanity of ambitious persons is not so big as the smallest star which we see scattered in disorder and unregarded on the pavement of heaven.
      - Jeremy Taylor

Ah! curst ambition! to thy lures we owe
  All the great ills that mortals bear below.
      - Thomas Tickell

Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.
      - Mark Twain (pseudonym of Samuel Langhorne Clemens)

There is a loftier ambition than merely to stand high in the world. It is to stoop down and lift mankind a little higher.
      - Henry Jackson van Dyke (2)

The modesty of certain ambitious persons consists in becoming great without making too much noise; it may be said that they advance in the world on tiptoe.
      - Voltaire (Francois Marie Arouet Voltaire)

Ambition is the last refuge of the failure.
      - Oscar Wilde (Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde)

What is ambition? It is a glorious cheat! Angels of light walk not so dazzlingly the sapphire walls of heaven.
      - Nathaniel Parker Willis

And mad ambition trumpeteth to all.
      - Nathaniel Parker Willis, Parrhasius


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