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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 ]

The ambitious climbs up high and perilous stairs, and never cares how to come down; the desire of rising hath swallowed up his fear of a fall.
      - Thomas Adams

It is observed by Cicero, that men of the greatest and most shining parts are most actuated by ambition.
      - Joseph Addison

There is a kind of grandeur and respect which the meanest and most insignificant part of mankind endeavor to procure in the little circle of their friends and acquaintance. The poorest mechanic, nay, the man who lives upon common alms, gets him his set of admirers, and delights in that superiority which he enjoys over those who are in some respects beneath him. This ambition, which is natural to the soul of man, might, methinks, receive a very happy turn; and, if it were rightly directed, contribute as much to a person's advantage, as it generally does to his uneasiness and disquiet.
      - Joseph Addison

When your ship comes in, make sure you are willing to unload it.
      - Robert Anthony

Ambition is like choler, which is a humor that maketh men active, earnest, full of alacrity, and stirring, if it be not stopped, but if it be stopped, and cannot have its way, it becometh fiery, and thereby malign and venomous.
      - Francis Bacon

I am as one
  Who doth attempt some lofty mountain's height,
    And having gained what to the upcast eye
      The summit's point appear'd, astonished sees
        Its cloudy top, majestic and enlarged,
          Towering aloft, as distant as before.
      - Joanna Baillie

Our natures are like oil; compound us with anything,
  Yet will we strive to swim to the top.
      - Francis Beaumont and John Fletcher

A noble man compares and estimates himself by an idea which is higher than himself, and a mean man by one which is lower than himself. The one produces aspiration; the other, ambition. Ambition is the way in which a vulgar man aspires.
      - Henry Ward Beecher

A noble nose compares and estimates himself by an idea which is higher than himself, and a mean man by one which is lower than himself. The one produces aspiration; the other, ambition. Ambition is the way in which a vulgar man aspires.
      - Henry Ward Beecher

Proud crested Fiend, the World's worst foe,
  Ambition, canst thou boast one deed,
    Whence no unsightly horrors flow,
      Nor private peace is seen to bleed?
      - Robert Bloomfield

Neither love nor ambition, as it has often been shown, can brook a division of its empire in the heart.
      - Christian Nestell Bovee

Ambition is a gilded misery, a secret poison, a hidden plague, the engineer of deceit, the mother of hypocrisy, the parent of envy, the original of vices, the moth of holiness, the blinder of hearts, turning medicines into maladies, and remedies into diseases.
      - Thomas Brooks

Say what we will, you may be sure that ambition is an error; its wear and tear of heart are never recompensed--it steals away the freshness of life,--it deadens its vivid and social enjoyments,--it shuts our souls to our own youth,--and we are old ere we remember that we have made a fever and a labor of our raciest years.
      - Edward George Earle Lytton Bulwer-Lytton, 1st Baron Lytton

The object of ambition, unlike that of love, never being wholly possessed, ambition is the more durable passion of the two.
      - Edward George Earle Lytton Bulwer-Lytton, 1st Baron Lytton

Ambition has no rest!
      - Edward George Earle Lytton Bulwer-Lytton, 1st Baron Lytton,
        Richelieu (act III, sc. 1)

Ambition, that high and glorious passion, which makes such havoc among the sons of men, arises from a proud desire of honor and distinction; and when the splendid trappings in which it is usually caparisoned are removed, will be found to consist of the mean materials of envy, pride, and covetousness.
      - Robert Burton

Like dogs in a wheel, birds in a cage, or squirrels in a chain, ambitious men still climb and climb, with great labor, and incessant anxiety, but never reach the top.
      - Robert Burton

Blood only serves to wash Ambition's hands.
      - Lord Byron (George Gordon Noel Byron)

There is a fire
  And motion of the soul, which will not dwell
    In its own narrow being, but aspire
      Beyond the fitting medium of desire;
        And, but once kindled, quenchless evemore,
          Preys upon high adventure, nor can tire
            Of aught but rest; a fever at the core,
              Fatal to him who bears, to all who ever bore.
      - Lord Byron (George Gordon Noel Byron)

You have greatly ventured, but all must do so who would greatly win.
      - Lord Byron (George Gordon Noel Byron)

For my part, I had rather be the first man among these fellows than the second man in Rome.
      - Julius Caesar (Gaius Julius Caesar)

No man is born without ambitious worldly desires.
      - Thomas Carlyle

Aspiring to nothing but humility, the wise man will make it the height of his ambition to be unambitious. As he cannot effect all that he wishes, he will only wish for that which he can effect.
      - Paul Chatfield (a/k/a Horace Smith)

The noblest spirit is most strongly attracted by the love of glory.
      - Cicero (Marcus Tullius Cicero) (often called "Tully" for short)

When you are aspiring to the highest place, it is honorable to the second or even the third rank.
  [Lat., Prima enim sequentem, honestumn est in secundis, tertiisque consistere.]
      - Cicero (Marcus Tullius Cicero) (often called "Tully" for short),
        De Oratore (I)

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