Thursday, May 14, 2009

Quotations on Ambition

Me let the tender office long engage

To rock the cradle of reposing age;

With lenient arts extend a mother's breath,

Make languor smile, and smooth the bed of


Explore the thought, explain the asking eye! And keep awhile one parent from the sky.

a. Pope—Prologue to the Satires. L. 406.

Why will you break the Sabbath of my days? Now sick alike of Envy and of Praise.

b. Pars—First Book of Horact. Ep. I.

L. 3.

Through the sequester'd vale of rural life,
The venerable patriarch guileless held
The tenor of his way.
e. Poktecs— Death. L. 109.

O, roses for the flush of youth,
And laurel for the perfect prime;
But pluck an ivy branch for me
Grown old before my time.
d. Christina G. Rossetti—Song. St. 1.

I'm growing fonder of my staff;
I'm growing dimmer in the eyes ;
I'm growing fainter in my laugh ;
I'm growing deeper in my sighs:
I'm growing careless of my dress;
I'm growing frugal of my gold ;
I'm growing wise; I'm growing,—yes,—
I'm growing old.
«. Saxe—I'm Growing Old.

On his bold visage middle age
Had slightly press'd its signet sage.

/. Scon—Lady of the Late. Canto I.

Pt. XXI.

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.

g. Scmr—Roteby. Canto V. St. 1.

Thus pleasures fade away ;
Youth, talents, beauty, thus decay,
And leave us dark, forlorn, and gray ;
h. Scott—Marmion. Introduction to

Canto II. 8t. 7.

Old friends are best. King James us'd to call for his Old Shoes, they were easiest for his Feet.

t. Sklden— Table Talk, friends.

And his big manly voice, Turning again toward childish treble, pipes And whistles in his sound. j. As You Like It. Act II. So. 7.

L. 161.

An old man is twice a child.
k. Hamlet. Act II. Sc. 2. L. 404.

As you are old and reverend, you should be

wise. 1. King Lear. Art I. Sc. 4. L. 261.

At your age,

The hey-day in the blood is tame, it's humble, And waits upon the judgment. m. Hamlet. Act III. Sc. 4. L. 68.

Begin to patch up thine old body for heaven. n. Henry IV. Pt. II. Act II. Sc. 4.

L. 193.

For we are old, and on our quick'st decrees The inaudible and noiseless foot of Time Steals ere we can effect them.

0. Alfs Well that Ends Well. Act V.

Sc. 3. L. 40.

Give me a staff of honor for mine age, But not a sceptre to control the world. p. Titus Andronicus. Act I. Sc. 1.

L. 198.

Men shut their doors against a setting sun. q. Timon of Athens. Act I. Sc. 2.

L. 129.

My way of life

Is fallen into the sear, the yellow leaf,
And that which should accompany old age,
As honor, love, obedience, troops of friends,
I must not look to have; but, in their stead,
Curses not loud, but deep, mouth-honor,

breath, Which the poor heart would fain deny, and

dare not. r. Macbeth. Act V. Sc. 3. L. 22.

Nor age so eat up my invention.

1. Much Ado About Nothing. Act IV.

Sc. 1. L. 192.

O, father Abbot,

An old man, broken with the storms of State,
Is come to lay his weary bones among ye;
Give him a little earth for charity!
t. Henry VIII. Act IV. Sc. 2. L. 20.

0, heavens,

If you do love old men, if your sweet sway
Allow obedience, if yourselves are old,
Make it your cause,
u. King Lear. Act II. Sc. 4. L. 193.

Pray, do not mock me:

I am a very foolish fond old man,

Fourscore and upward ; not an hour more nor


And, to deal plainly,
I fear I am not in my perfect mind.
v. King Lear. Act IV. Sc. 7. L. 69.

Some smack of age in you, some relish of the galtness of time, w. King Henry IV. Pt. II. Act I.

Sc. 2. L. 91.

Superfluity comes sooner by white hairs, but competency lives longer. x. Merchant of Venice. Act I. Sc. 2.

L. 8. 12



Though I look old, yet I am strong and lusty ;
For in my youth I never did apply
Hot and rebellious liquors in ray blood ;
Nor did not with unbashful forehead woo
The means of weakness and debility;
Therefore my age is as a lusty winter,
Frosty, but kindly.

a. As You Like It. Act II. Sc. 3. L. 47.

Though now this grained face of mine be hid In sap-consuming winter's drizzled snow, And all the conduits of my blood froze up, Yet hath my night of life some memory.

b. Comedy of Errors. Act V. Sc. 1.

L. 311.

What should we speak of When we are old as you ? When we shall hear The rain and wind beat dark December. e. Cymbeline. Act III. Sc. 3. L. 36.

You are old;

Nature in you stands on the very verge
Of her confine.

d. King Lear. Act II. Sc. 4. L. 148.

" You are old, Father William," the young

man cried,

" The few locks which are left you are gray; You are hale, Father William,—a hearty old

man: Now tell me the reason, I pray."

e. Southky—The Old Man's Comforts, and

how he Gained Them.

Every man desires to live long; but no man would be old. /. Swift—Thoughts on Various Subjects,

Moral and Diverting.

I swear she 's no chicken ; she 'a on the wrong side of thirty, if she be a day. g. Swift—Polite Conversation. Dialogue I.

0 good gray head which all men knew. h. Tennyson—On the Death of the Duke of Wellington. St. 4.

Age too shines out: and, garrulous, recounts The feats of youth.

i. Thomson—The Seasons. Autumn.


Venerable men! you have come down to us from n former generation. Heaven has bounteously lengthened out your lives, that you might behold this joyous day. j. Daniel Wkbster—Address at Laying the Corner-Stone of tin: Bunker Hill Monument, June 17, 1825.

Is not old wine wholesomest, old pippins toothsomest, old wood burn brightest, old linen wash whitest? Old soldiers, sweetheart, are surest, and old lovers are soundest.

k. John Webster— Westward Ho. Art II.

Sc. 1.

But an old age serene and bright,
And lovely as a Lapland night,
Shall lead thee to thy grave. ,

1. Wordsworth—To a Young Lady.

The monumental pomp of age
Was with this goodly Personage;
A stature undepressed in size,
Unbent, which rather seemed to rise
In open victory o'er the weight
Of seventy years, to loftier height.
m. Wordsworth—The White Doe of

Rylstone. Canto III

Thus fares it still in our decay,

And yet the wiser mind
Mourns less for what age takes away

Than what it leaves behind.

n. Wordsworth—The Fountain. St. 9.

AGRICULTURE (See Occupations).
ALCHEMY (See Occupations).


To take a soldier without ambition is to pull off his spurs. o. Bacon—Essays. Of Ambition.

No man is born without ambitious worldly desires. p. Carlyle—Essays. Schiller.

The noblest spirit is most strongly attracted by the love of glory. g. Cicero.

I've reared a monument alone
More durable than brass or stone;
Whose cloudy summit is more hid
Than regal height of pyramid.
r. Abraham Coles—Memorial Tributes :
P. 130. Trans, of Horace. Lib.
III. Car. XXX.

I had a soul above buttons.
s. George Colman (the Younger)—Syl-
vester Daggerwood, or New Hay at the
Old Market. 8c. 1.

By low ambition and the thirst of praise. t. Cowpeb— Table Talk. L. 891.

On the summit see, The seals of office glitter in his eyes; He climbs, he pants, he grasps them! At his


Close at his heels, a demagogue ascends,
And with a dexterous jerk soon twists him


And wins them, but to lose them in his turn. ». Cowpeh— Task. Bk. IV. L. 58.




But wild Ambition loves to slide, not stand,

And Fortune's ice prefers to Virtue's land.

Pt. I. L. 198.

They please, are pleas'd, they give to get esteem

Till, seeming blest, they grow to what they

ft. Goldsmith— The Traveller. L. 266.

For all may have,
If they dare try, a glorious life, or grave.

c. Herbert— The Temple. The


Unmoved though Witlings sneer and Rivals

rail; Studious to please, yet not ashamed to fail.

d. Sam'l Johnson—Prologue to Tragedy of


I see, but cannot reach, the height
That lies forever in the light.

e. Longfellow—Christus. The Golden

Legend. Pt. II. A Village Church.

Most people would succeed in small things

if they were not troubled with great ambitions.

/. Longfellow—Drift-Wood. Table-Talk.

Ambition has no rest!

g. Bblweh-lytton—Richelieu. Act III.

Sc. 1.

The man who seeks one thing in life, and but


May hope to achieve it before life be done; But he who seeks all things, wherever he goes, Only reaps from the hopes which around him

he sows

A harvest of barren regrets.
h. Owen Meredith (Lord Lytton)—

Lucile. Pt. I. Canto II. St. 8.

Better to reign in hell than serve in heaven. t. Milton—Paradise Lost. Bk. I.

L. 263.

But what will not ambition and revenge
Descend to? who aspires must down as low
As high he soar'd, obnoxious first or last
To basest things.
j. Milton—Paradise Lost. Bk. IX.

L. 168.

Here may we reign secure, and in my choice To reign is worth ambition, though in Hell. i. Milton—Paradise Lost. Bk. I.

L. 261.

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.
I. Miltox—Paradise Regained. Bk. II.

L. 426.

Such joy ambition finds.
m. Milton—Paradise Lost. Bk. IV.

L. 92.

I'll make thee glorious by my pen,
And famous by my sword,
n. Marquis Of Monteosk (Jas. Graham)—
My Dear and Only Love.

But see how oft ambition's aims are cross'd.

And chiefs contend 'til all the prize is lost!

o. Pope—Rape of the Lock. Canto V.

L. 108.

Men would be angels, angels would be gods. p. Pope—Essay on Man. Ep. I. L. 126.

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 sur-

And buries madmen in the heaps they raise. q. Pope—Essay on Man. Ep. IV. L. 74.

Who knows but He, whose hand the lightning

forms, Who heaves old ocean, and who wings the


Pours fierce ambition in a Coesar's mind. r. Pope—Essay on Man. Ep. I. L. 157.

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.

». Quables—Emblems. Bk. IV.

Emblem 3.

Ambition is no cure for love!

t. Scott—Lay of the Last Minstrel.

Canto I. St. 27.

O fading honours of the dead !
O high ambition, lowly laid !
u. Scott—Lay of the Last Minstrel.

Canto II. St. 10.

Ambition's debt is paid. «. Julius Cxsar. Act III. Sc. 1. L. 83.

I have no spur

To prick the sides of my intent, but only
Vaulting ambition, which o'erleaps itself,
And falls on the other,
iff. Macbeth. Act I. 8c. 7. L. 25.

Ill-weav'd ambition, how much art thou


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.
x. Henry IV. Pt. I. Act V. Sc. 4.

L. 88. 14



Mark but ray fall, and that that ruin'd me. Cromwell, I charge thee, fling away ambition. By that sin fell the angels; how can man


The image of his Maker, hope to win by it? a. Henry VIII. Act III. 8c. 2. L. 437.

The noble Brutus

Hath told you Ceesar was ambitious :
If it were so, it was a grievous fault;
And grievously hath Cajsar answered it.
6. Julia* Csesar. Act HI. Sc. 2. L. 75.

The very substance of the ambitious is merely

the shadow of a dream. e. Hamlet. Act II. Sc. 2. L. 264.

'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.
d. Julius Csaar. Act II. Sc. 1. L. 21.

Virtue is chok'd with foul ambition.

«. Henry VI. Pt. II. Act III. Sc. 1.

L. 143.

Ambition is our idol, on whose wings
Great minds are carry'd only to extreme;
To be sublimely great, or to be nothing.
/. Thos. Southerme—The Loyal Brother.

Act I. 8c. 1.

And mad ambition trumpeteth to all.
g. Willis—Prom a Poem delivered at the
Departure of the Senior Class of Yale
College (1827).

How like a mounting devil in the heart
Rules the unreined ambition!
h. Willis—Parrhasius.

Ambition has but one reward for all:
A little power, a little transient fame,
A grave to rest in, and a fading name!
t. William Winter—The Queen's

Domain. L. 90.

Talents angel-bright,

If wanting worth are shining instruments
In false ambition's hand, to finish faults
Illustrious, and give infamy renown.
j. Young—Night Thoughts. Night VI.

L. 276.

Too low they build who build beneath the


t. Youhq—Night Thoughts. Night VIII.

L. 225.


Diverse men have diverse recreations and exercises.

/. Burton—Anatomy of Melancholy.

Pt. 2. Sec. 2. Mem. 4.

Every palace, every city almost hath his peculiar walks, cloisters, terraces, groves, theatres, pageants, games, and several recreations ; every country, some professed gymnics to exhilarate their minds and exercise their bodies.

m. Burton. Anatomy of Melancholy.

Pt. 2. Sec. 2. Mem. 4.

Let them freely feast, sing and dance, have their puppet-plays, hobby-horses, tabors, crowds, bag-pipes, etc., play at ball, and barley-breaks, and what sports and recreations they like best.

n. Burton—Anatomy of Melancholy.

Pt. 2. Sec. 2. Mem. 4.

So good things may be abused, and that which was first invented to refresh men's weary spirits.

o. Burton—Anatomy of Melancholy.

Pt. 2. Sec. 2. Mem. 4.

With spots quadrangular of diamond form, Ensanguined hearts, clubs typical of strife, And spades, the emblems of untimely graves. p. Cowper— The Task. Bk. IV. The

Winter Evening. L. 217.

Cards were at first for benefits designed. Sent to amuse, not to enslave the mind. q, Garrick—Epilogue to Ed. Moore's


The pictures placed for ornament and use, The twelve good rules, the royal game of

goose. r. Goldsmith—Deserted Village. L. 231.

By sports like these are all their cares be-


The sports of children satisfy the child. ». Goldsmith— The Traveller. L. 153.


It is a poor sport that is not worth the candle. t. Herbert—Jacula Prudentum.

I am a great friend to public amusements ; for they keep people from vice. u. Sam'L Johnson—Boswell's Life of

Johnson. 1772.

A clear fire, a clean hearth, and the rigour of the game.

f. Charles Lamb—Mrs. Battle's Opinions

on WTiist.

When I play with my cat, who knows whether I do not make her more sport, than she makes me?

w. ^ Moutaiome—Apology for Raimond

de 'Sebonde. AMUSEMENTS.



Hail, blest Confusion! here are met
All tongues, and times, and faces;

The Lancers flirt with Juliet,
The Brahmin talks of races;
o. Phaed—Fancy Ball. St. 6.

* * let's to billiards. Come, Charmian,
My arm is sore: best play with Mardian.
6. Antony and Cleopatra. Act II.

Sc. V. L. 3.

Where is our usual manager of mirth ?
What revels are in hand ? Is there no play,
To ease the anguish of a torturing hour?
e. Midsummer Nighfi Dream. Act V.

Sc. I. L. 35.

We cry for mercy to the next amusement.
The next amusement mortgages our fields.

d. Yocno—Night Thoughts. Night II.

L. 131.


The wisdom of our ancestors.

e. Bacon—(According to Lord


People will not look forward to posterity,

who never look backward to their ancestors.

/. Burke—Reflections on the Revolution in

France. Page 48.

Some decent regulated pre-eminence, some preference (not exclusive appropriation) given to birth, is neither unnatural, nor unjust, nor impolitic.

g. Burke—Reflections on the Revolution in France—1790. Vol. III. P. 299.

The power of perpetuating our property in our families is one of the most valuable and interesting circumstances belonging to it, and that which tends the most to the perpetuation of society itself. It makes our weakness subservient to our virtue; it grafts benevolence even upon avarice. The possession of family wealth and of the distinction which attends hereditary possessions (as most concerned in it,) are the natural securities for this transmission.

h. Bubke—Reflections on the Revolution in France—1790. Vol. III. P. 298.

Great families of yesterday we show,

And lords whose parents were the Lord knows

who. ». Dasijx Defoe—The True-Born

Englishman. Part I. L. 372.

Few sons attain the praise of their great ."ires, and most their sires disgrace. j. Homer— Odyssey. Bk. II. L. 315.

Pope's trans.

" My nobility," said he, " begins in me, but yours ends in you." k. Iphicbates. See Plutarch1 s Morals.

Apothegms of Kings and Great
Commanders. Iphicrates.

I know nothing about it; I am my own ancestor.

I. Junot, Due d'Abrantes (when asked

as to his ancestry).

The man who has not anything to boast of but his illustrious ancestors is like a potato, — the only good belonging to him is under ground. m. Sie Thomas Ovebbuby—Characters.

If there be no nobility of descent, all the more indispensable is it that there should be nobility of ascent,—a character in them that bear rule so fine and high and pure that as men come within the circle of its influence they involuntarily pay homage to that which is the one pre-eminent distinction,—the royalty of virtue.

n. Bishop Heney C. Pottee—Address at

the Washington Centennial Service in

St. Paufs Chapel, New York.

Apr. 30, 1889.

Our ancestors are very good kind of folks; but they are the last people I should choose to have a visiting acquaintance with.

0. Shebidan— The Rivals. Act IV.

Sc. 1.

I make little account of genealogical trees. Mere family never made a man great. Thought and deed, not pedigree, are the passports to enduring fate.

p. Genebal Skobeieff—Fortnightly

Review. Oct., 1882.

'Tis happy for him that his father was born before him. g. Swift—Polite Conversation.

Dialogue III.

Prom yon blue heavens above us bent,
The gardener Adam and his wife
Smile at the claims of long descent.
r. Tennybok—Lady Clara Vere de Vert.

St. 7.

He seems to be a man sprung from himself.

1. Tibebius—See Annals of Tacitus.

Bk. XI. Sc. 21.

As though there were a tie,
And obligation to posterity!
We get them, bear them, breed and nurse.
What has posterity done for us,
That we, lest they their rights should lose.
Should trust our necks to gripe of noose ?
t. John Tbcmbulit—McFingal.

Canto II. L. 121.

No comments:

Post a Comment