A noble man compares and estimates himself by an idea which is higher than himself; and a mean man, by one lower than himself.—The one produces aspiration; the other ambition, which is the way in which a vulgar man aspires.
High seats are never but uneasy, and crowns are always stuffed with thorns.
The slave has but one master, the ambitious man has as many as there are persons whose aid may contribute to the advancement of his fortunes.
Say what we will, we 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 our vivid and social enjoyments; it shuts our souls to our youth; and we are old ere we remember that we have made a fever and a labor of our raciest years.
As dogs in a wheel, or squirrels in a cage, ambitious men still climb and climb, with great labor and incessant anxiety, but never reach the top.
He who surpasses or subdues mankind, must look down on the hate of those below.
The noblest spirit is most strongly attracted by the love of glory.
It is by attempting to reach the top at a single leap, that so much misery is caused in the world.
Ambition is the avarice of power; and happiness herself is soon sacrified to that very lust of dominion which was first encouraged only as the best means of obtaining it.
Ambition makes the same mistake concerning power, that avarice makes as to wealth. She begins by accumulating it as a means to happiness, and finishes by continuing to accumulate it as an end.
Ambition is like love, impatient both of delays and rivals.
Ambition is the germ from which all growth of nobleness proceeds.
Ambition is not a weakness unless it be disproportioned to the capacity. To have more ambition than ability is to be at once weak and unhappy.
Nothing is too high for the daring of mortals: we storm heaven itself in our folly.
Where ambition can cover its enterprises, even to the person himself, under the appearance of principle, it is the most incurable and inflexible of passions.
Ambition has one heel nailed in well, though she stretch her fingers to touch the heavens.
Most people would succeed in small things if they were not troubled by great ambitions.
Ambition is but the evil shadow of aspiration.
Ambition is so powerful a passion in the human breast, that however high we reach we are never satisfied.
Ambition is the spur that makes man struggle with destiny. It is heaven's own incentive to make purpose great and achievement greater.
Ambition is not a vice of little people.
Ambition is a lust that is never quenched, but grows more inflamed and madder by enjoyment.
The tallest trees are most in the power of the winds, and ambitious men of the blasts of fortune.
Great souls, by nature half divine, soar to the stars, and hold a near acquaintance with the gods.
It is the nature of ambition to make men liars and cheats who hide the truth in their hearts, and like jugglers, show another thing in their mouths; to cut all friendships and enmities to the measure of their interest, and put on a good face where there is no corresponding good will.
It is the constant fault and inseparable evil quality of ambition, that it never looks behind it.
Fling away ambition. By that sin angels fell. How then can man, the image of his Maker, hope to win by it?
Vaulting ambition, which o'erleaps itself.
The very substance of the ambitious is merely the shadow of a dream.
To be ambitious of true honor and of the real glory and perfection of our nature is the very principle and incentive of virtue; but to be ambitious of titles, place, ceremonial respects, and civil pageantry, is as vain and little as the things are which we court.
Ambition thinks no face so beautiful, as that which looks from under a crown.
Ambition is an idol on whose wings great minds are carried to extremes, to be sublimely great, or to be nothing.
Ambition often puts men upon doing the meanest offices: so climbing is performed in the same posture as creeping.
How like a mounting devil in the heart rules the unreined ambition.
Too low they build who build below the skies.