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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 ]

If at great things thou would'st arrive,
  Get riches first, get wealth, and treasure heap,
    Not difficult, if thou hearken to me;
      Riches are mine, fortune is in my hand,
        They whom I favor thrive in wealth amain,
          While virtue, valor, wisdom, sit in want.
      - John Milton, Paradise Regained
         (bk. II, l. 426)

Hard, withering toil only can achieve a name; and long days and months and years must be passed in the chase of that bubble, reputation, which, when once grasped, breaks in your eager clutch into a hundred lesser bubbles, that soar above you still.
      - Donald Grant Mitchell (used pseudonym Ik Marvel)

Ambition is not a vice of little people.
      - Michel Eyquem de Montaigne

Ambition is, of all other, the most contrary humor to solitude; and glory and repose are so inconsistent that they cannot possibly inhabit one and the same place; and for so much as I understand, those have only their arms and legs disengaged from the crowd, their mind and intention remain engaged behind more than ever.
      - Michel Eyquem de Montaigne

Ambition sufficiently plagues her proselytes, by keeping themselves always in show, like the statue of a public place.
      - Michel Eyquem de Montaigne

If love and ambition should be in equal balance, and come to jostle with equal force, I make no doubt but that the last would win the prize.
      - Michel Eyquem de Montaigne

If not for that of conscience, yet at least for ambition's sake, let us reject ambition, let us disdain that thirst of honor and renown, so low and mendicant; that it makes us beg it of all sorts of people.
      - Michel Eyquem de Montaigne

A hop and skip shall raise the son of a cobbler, well underlaid with pieces, to the government of a prince, till overmuch ambitious cutting wears him to his last.
      - Thomas Nabbes

A life spent in constant labor is a life wasted, save a man be such a fool as to regard a fulsome obituary notice as ample reward.
      - George Jean Nathan

Remarkable places are like the summits of rocks; eagles and reptiles only can get there.
      - Madame Suzanne Curchod Necker

Every one has before his eyes an end which he pursues till death; but for many that end is a feather which they blow before them in the air.
      - Robert Nicoll

Ambition is a lust that is never quenched, but grows more inflamed and madder by enjoyment.
      - Thomas Otway

To wish is of little account; to succeed you must earnestly desire; and this desire must shorten thy sleep.
      - Ovid (Publius Ovidius Naso)

The tallest trees are most in the power of the winds, and ambitious men of the blasts of fortune.
      - William Penn

I begin where most people end, with a full conviction of the emptiness of all sorts of ambition, and the unsatisfactory nature of all human pleasures.
      - Alexander Pope

Who knows but He, whose hand the lightning forms,
  Who heaves old ocean, and who wings the storms,
    Pours fierce ambition in a Caesar's mind.
      - Alexander Pope

Who know but He, whose hand the lightning forms,
  Who heaves old ocean, and who wings the storms,
    Pours fierce ambition in a Caesar's mind.
      - Alexander Pope, Essay on Man
         (ep. I, l. 157)

Oh, sons of earth! attempt ye still to rise.
  By mountains pil'd on mountains to the skies?
    Heav'n still with laughter the vain toil surveys,
      And buries madmen in the heaps they raise.
      - Alexander Pope, Essay on Man
         (ep. IV, l. 74)

But see how oft ambition's aims are cross'd,
  And chiefs content 'til all the prize is lost!
      - Alexander Pope, Rape of the Lock
         (canto V, l. 108)

When ambitious men find an open passage, they are rather busy than dangerous; and if well watched in their proceedings, they will catch them selves in their own snare, and prepare a way for their own destruction.
      - Francis Quarles

Be always displeased at what thou art, if thou desire to attain to what thou art not; for where thou hast pleased thyself, there thou abidest.
      - Francis Quarles, Emblems
         (bk. IV, emblem 3)

Ambition is a vice, but it may be the father of virtue.
      - Quintilian (Marcus Fabius Quintilianus)

Though ambition in itself is a vice, yet it is often the parent of virtues.
  [Lat., Licet ipsa vitium sit ambitio, frequenter tamen causa virtutem est.]
      - Quintilian (Marcus Fabius Quintilianus),
        De Institutione Oratoria (II, 22)

Fain would I climb, yet fear I to fall.
      - Sir Walter Raleigh (1),
        Worthies of England (vol. I, p. 419),
        by Thomas Fuller, (written on window pane by Raleigh for Queen Elizabeth I to see)

Fatal ambition! say what wondrous charm
  Delude mankind to toil for thee in arms?
      - Nicholas Rowe


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