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Still more enamour'd of this wretched soil!
Shall our pale, wither'd hands be still stretch'd out,
Trembling, at once with eagerness and age?
With av'rice, and convulsions, grasping hard?
Grasping at air; for what has earth beside?
Man wants but little; nor that little long;
How soon must he resign his very dust,
Which frugal nature lent him for an hour!
Young's Night Thoughts.
What folly can be ranker? like our shadows,
Our wishes lengthen as our sun declines.

Young's Night Thoughts.
Age should fly concourse, cover in retreat
Defects of judgment, and the will subdue;
Walk thoughtful on the silent, solemn shore
Of that vast ocean it must sail so soon.

And who would drop one pleasant link

From memory's golden chain ?
Or lose a sorrow, losing too

The love that soothed the pain?
Oh! still may heaven within my soul
Keep truth and love alive,-
Then angel graces will be mine,
Though over thirty-five.



Mrs. Hale.

In ancient times, the sacred plough employ'd
The kings, and awful fathers of mankind:
And some, with whom compared your insect tribes
Are but the beings of a summer's day,
Have held the scale of empire, ruled the storm
Young's Night Thoughts. Of mighty war, then, with unweary'd hand,
Disdaining little delicacies, seized

Thus aged men, full loth and slow,
The vanities of life forego,
And count their youthful follies o'er,
Till memory lends her light no more.


The plough, and greatly independent lived.
Thomson's Seasons.


What's the business,

Scott's Rokeby.

That such a hideous trumpet calls to parley
The sleeper of the house ?—speak, speak.

Shaks. Macbeth

Yet time, who changes all, had alter'd him
In soul and aspect as in age: years steal
Fire from the mind as vigour from the limb:
And life's enchanted cup but sparkles near the
Byron's Childe Harold.
There age, essaying to recall the past,
After long striving for the hues of youth,
At the sad labour of the toilet, and
Full many a glance at the too faithful mirror,
Prankt forth in all the pride of ornament,
Forgets itself, and trusting to the falsehood
Of the indulgent beams, which show, yet hide,
Believed itself forgotten, and was fool'd.

Byron's Doge of Venice.
Why grieve that time has brought so soon
The sober age of manhood on ?

As idly should I weep at noon

To see the blush of morning gone.

Bryant's Poems.

True, time will sear and blanch my brow:

Well-I shall sit with aged men, And my good glass will tell me how A grisly beard becomes me then. And should no foul dishonour lie


Why stand you thus amazed? methinks your eyes
Are fixed in meditation; and all here
Seem like so many senseless statues;
As if your souls had suffer'd an eclipse
Betwixt your judgments and affections.
Swetnam-the Woman Hater


O sacred hunger of ambitious mindes,
And impotent desire of men to raine!
Whom neither dread of God, that devils bindes.
Nor lawes of men, that common weales containe,
Nor bands of nature, that wilde beastes restraine,
Can keep from outrage, and from doing wrong,
Where they may hope a kingdome to obtaine
No faith so firm, no trust can be so strong,
No love so lasting then, that may enduren long.
Spenser's Fairy Queen.
Bryant's Poems. Some thought to raise themselves to high degree
By riches and unrighteous reward;
Some by close should'ring; some by flatteree
Others through friends; others for base gard.
And all, by wrong waies, femselves prepared

Upon my head when I am grey, Love yet may search my fading eye,

And smooth the path of my decay.

I'm thirty-five, I'm thirty-five!
Nor would I make it less,
For not a year has pass'd away
Unmark'd by happiness.

Those that were up themselves, kept others low;
Those that were low themselves, held others hard,
Ne suffered them to ryse or greater grow:
But every one did strive his fellow down to throw.
Spenser's Fairy Queen.

Nature, that framed us of four elements,
Warring within our breasts for regimen,
Doth teach us all to have aspiring minds:
Our souls, whose faculties can comprehend
The wondrous architecture of the world,
And measure ev'ry wand'ring planet's course,
Still climbing after knowledge infinite,
And always moving as the restless spheres,
Wills us to wear ourselves, and never rest
Until we reach the ripest fruit of all,
That perfect bliss and sole felicity,
The sweet fruition of a heav'nly crown.

Marlo's 1st part of Tamerlane the Great. Who soars too near the sun, with golden wings, Melts them;-to ruin his own fortune brings. Shaks. Cromwell.

Thriftless ambition! that will ravin up
Thine own life's means.

Shaks. Macbeth.

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't? Shaks. Henry VIII.

I have ventured, Like little wanton boys that swim on bladders, This many summers in a sea of glory: But far beyond my depth: my high-blown pride At length broke under me; and now has left me, Weary, and old with service, to the mercy Of a rude stream, that must for ever hide me. Shaks. Henry VIII. Vain pomp, and glory of this world, I hate ye; I feel my heart new open'd: O, how wretched Is that poor man that hangs on princes' favours! There is, betwixt that smile we would aspire to, That sweet aspect of princes, and their ruin, More pangs and fears than wars or women have; And when he falls, he falls like Lucifer, Never to hope again.

Shaks. Henry VIII. 'Tis a common proof, That lowliness is ambition's ladder, young Whereto the climber upwards 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.

Shaks. Julius Cæsar.

Men at some time are masters of their fates:
The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars,
But in ourselves, that we are underlings.

Shaks. Julius Cæsar
Ye gods, it doth amaze me,
A man of such a feeble temper should
So get the start of the majestic world,
And bear the palm alone.

Shaks. Julius Cæsar.

He hath brought many captives to Rome,
Whose ransoms did the general coffers fill:
Did this in Cæsar seem ambitious?

When that the poor have cried, Cæsar hath wept:
Ambition should be made of sterner stuff.

Shaks. Julius Cæsar. Examples, gross as earth, exhort me: Witness, this army, of such mass, and charge, Led by a delicate and tender prince; Whose spirit, with divine ambition puff'd, Makes mouths at the invisible event; Exposing what is mortal, and unsure, To all that fortune, death, and danger dare, Even for an egg-shell.

Shaks. Hamlet.

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That would'st thou holily: would'st not play false, And yet would'st wrongly win.

Shaks. Macbeth. Follow I must, I cannot go before, While Gloster bears this base and humble mind. Were I a man, a duke, and next of blood, I would remove these tedious stumbling blocks, And smooth my way upon their headless necks. Shaks. Henry VI. Away with scrupulous wit! now arms must rule, And fearless minds climb soonest unto crowns Shaks. Henry VI. Ambition hath but two steps: the lowest, Blood; the highest, envy.

Lilly's Midas.

Lilly's Midas.

Ambition hath one heel nail'd in hell, Keeps mankind sweet by action: without that, Though she stretch her fingers to touch the hea-The world would be a filthy settled mud.


Ye gods! what havoc does ambition make

Crown's Ambitious Statesman. Ambition's eyes

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A friend, in his creation, to himself,
And may, with fit ambition, conceive
The greatest blessings, and the brightest honours
Appointed for him, if he can achieve them
The right and noble way.

Philip Massinger's Guardian. Our natures are like oil; compound us with any thing

Yet still we strive to swim upon the top.

Beaumont and Fletcher's Loyal Subject.
Be not with honour'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 her grave.
Sir W. Davenant's Gondibert.

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 a lust that's never quenched,
Grows more enflamed, and madder by enjoyment.
Otway's Caius Marius.
Ambition, like a torrent, ne'er looks back,

It is a swelling, and the last affection
A high mind can put off. It is a rebel
Both to the soul and reason, and enforces
All laws, all conscience; treads upon religion,
And offers violence to nature's self.

Ben Jonson's Catiline.

Here we may reign secure, and in my choice
To reign is worth ambition, though in hell.
Milton's Paradise Lost.
His trust was with th' Eternal to be deem'd
Equal in strength, and rather than be less
Car'd not to be at all; with that care lost
Went all his fear of God, or hell, or worse,
He reck'd not.

Milton's Paradise Lost. Lifted up so high

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Thou lying phantom! whither hast thou lured me!
Ev'n to this giddy height; where now I stand

Ambition is not tir'd with toil nor cloy'd with Forsaken, comfortless; with not a friend


Sir W. Davenant's Playhouse to let.

Ambition is the mind's immodesty.

In whom my soul can trust.

Brown's Barbarossa
What's all the gaudy glitter of a crown;
What but the glaring meteor of ambition,
Sir W. Davenant's Gondibert. That leads the wretch benighted in his errors,
Points to the gulf, and shines upon destruction.
Brooke's Gustavus Vas

Ambition is a spirit in the world,
That causes all the cbbs and flows of nations,

Oh! that some villager, whose early toil
Lifts the penurious morsel to his mouth,
Had claim'd my birth! ambition had not thea
Thus step'd 'twixt me and heav'n.

Brooke's Gustavus Vasa.
Ambition is at a distance

A goodly prospect, tempting to the view;
The height delights us, and the mountain top
Looks beautiful, because 'tis nigh to heaven:
But we ne'er think how sandy's the foundation;
What storms will batter, and what tempests shake

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Like castern kings, a lazy state they keep,
And, close confin'd to their own palace, sleep.


The gods, to curse Pamela with her pray'rs,
Gave the gilt coach and dappled Flanders mares,
The shining robes, rich jewels, beds of state,
And to complete her bliss,-a fool for mate.
She glares in balls, front boxes, and the ring,
A vain, unquiet, glittering, wretched thing!—
Pride, pomp, and state, but reach her outward


Otway's Venice Preserved. She sighs,-and is no duchess at her heart. Why now my golden dream is outAmbition, like an early friend, throws back My curtains with an eager hand, o'erjoyed To tell me what I dreamt is true-a crown, Thou bright reward of ever-daring minds; Oh! how thy awful glory fills my soul! Nor can the means that got thee dim thy lustre; For, not men's love, fear pays thee adoration, And fame not more survives from good than evil


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By nature half divine, soar to the stars,
And hold a near acquaintance with the gods.
Rowe's Royal Convert.
What is ambition but desire of greatness?
And what is greatness but extent of power?
But lust of power's a dropsy of the mind,
Whose thirst increases, while we drink to quench it,
"Till swoln and stretch'd by the repeated draught,
We burst and perish.

Higgon's Generous Conqueror.
Ambition first sprung from your blest abodes,
The glorious fault of angels and of gods;
Thence to their images on earth it flows,
And in the breasts of kings and heroes glows.
Most souls, 'tis true, but peep out once an age,
Dull suilen pris'ners in the body's cage;
Dim lights of life, that burn a length of years
Useless unsec... as lamps in sepulchres;

Oh, sons of earth! attempt ye still to rise,
By mountains pil'd on mountains, to the skies?
Heaven still with laughter the vain toil surveys,
And buries madmen in the heaps they raise.
Pope's Essay on Man.
Unnumber'd suppliants crowd preferment's gate
Athirst for wealth, and burning to be great,
Delusive fortune hears the incessant call,
They mount, they shine,-evaporate and fall.

Dr. Johnson's Vanity of Human Wishes,
This sov'reign passion, scornful of restraint,
Even from the birth affects supreme command,
Swells in the breast, and with resistless force,
O'erbears each gentler motion of the mind.
Dr. Johnson's Irene

Alas! ambition makes my little less:
Embitt'ring the possess'd: why wish for more?
Wishing, of all employments, is the worst;
Philosophy's reverse, and health's decay!

Young's Night Thoughts.
Thy bosom burns for power;
What station charms thee? I'll install thee there;
'Tis thine. And art thou greater than before?
Then thou before wast something less than man.
Has thy new post betray'd thee into pride?
That treach'rous pride betrays thy dignity,
That pride defames humanity, and calls
The being mean, wach staffs or strings can raise.
Young's Night Thoughts
Not kings alone,

Each villager has his ambition too;
No sultan prouder than his fetter'd slave:
Slaves build their little Babylons of straw,
Echo the proud Assyrian in their hearts,
And cry-" Behold the wonders of my might!"
And why? because immortal as their lord;
And souls immortal must for ever heave
At something great; the glitter or the gold
The praise of mortals or the praise of Heaven.
Young's Night Thoughts

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The seals of office glitter in his eyes;

And all the hireling equipage of virtues,
Faith, honour, justice, gratitude, and friendship,
Discharg'd at once.

Jeffrey's Edwin

You have deeply ventured,

But all must do so who would greatly win.
Byron's Doge of Venice.
Ay,-father!-I have had those earthly visions
And noble aspirations in my youth,
To make my own the mind of other men,
The enlightener of nations: and to rise
I knew not whither-it might be to fall;
But fall, even as the mountain cataract,
Which having leapt from its more dazzling height,
Even in the foaming strength of its abyss,
Lies low but mighty still.-But this is past,
My thoughts mistook themselves.

Byron's Manfred.

He climbs, he pants,—he grasps them. At his He who ascends to mountain tops, shall find


Close at his heels, a demagogue ascends,
And with a dextrous jerk soon twists him down,
And wins them, but to lose them in his turn.
Couper's Task.

Is it delusion this?
Or wears the mind of man within itself
A conscious feeling of its destination?
What say these suddenly imposed thoughts,
Which mark such deepen'd traces in the brain
On vivid real persuasion, as do make
My nerved foot tread firmer on the earth,
And my dilating form tower on its way?
Joanna Baillie's Ethwald.
I am as one

Who doth attempt some lofty mountan's height,
And having gained what to the upcast eye
The summit's point appear'd, astonish'd sees
Its cloudy top, majestic and enlarged,
Towering aloft, as distant as before.

Joanna Baillie's Ethwald.

The loftiest peaks most wrapt in clouds and snow;
He who surpasses or subdues mankind,
Must look down on the hate of those below.
Though high above, the sun of glory glow,
And far beneath, the earth and ocean spread;
Round him are icy rocks, and loudly blow
Contending tempests on his naked head,
And thus reward the toils which to those summits
Byron's Childe Horold.


But quiet to quick bosoms is a hell,
And there hath been thy bane; there is a fire
And motion in the soul which will not dwell
In its own narrow being, but aspire,
Beyond the fitting medium of desire;
And but once kindled, quenchless evermore
Of aught but rest; a fever at the core,
Preys upon high adventure, nor can tire

Fatal to him who bears,-to all who ever bore.
This makes the madmen, who have made men mad
By their contagion, conquerors and kings,
Founders of sects and systems, to whom add
Sophists, bards, statesmen, all unquiet things
Which stir too strongly the soul's secret springs,
And are themselves the fools to those they fool;
Envied, yet not enviable! what stings
Joanna Baillie's Ethwald. Are theirs! one breast laid open were a school
Which would unteach mankind, the lust to shine
Byron's Childe Harold

It ever is the marked propensity
Of restless and aspiring minds to look
Into the stretch of dark futurity.

To th' expanded and aspiring soul,
To be but still the thing it long has been,
Is misery, e'en though enthron'd it were
Under the cope of high imperial state.

Joanna Baillie's Ethwald.

The cheat, ambition, eager to espouse
Dominion, courts it with a lying show,
And shines in borrow'd pomp to serve a turn:
But the match made, the farce is at an end;

or rule.

Their breath is agitation, and their life
A storm whereon they ride to sink at last,
And yet so nurs'd and bigoted to strife,
That should their days, surviving perils past,
Melt to calm twilight, they feel overcast
With sorrow and supineness, and so die;
Even as a flame unfed, which runs to waste

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