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Famous Ambition Poems by Famous Poets

These are examples of famous Ambition poems written by some of the greatest and most-well-known modern and classical poets. PoetrySoup is a great educational poetry resource of famous ambition poems. These examples illustrate what a famous ambition poem looks like and its form, scheme, or style (where appropriate).

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by Shakur, Tupac
Learn from their misfortune
Learn from their pain
Believe in something
Believe in yourself
Turn adversity into ambition
Now blossom into wealth...Read More

by Pope, Alexander
...peculiar Arts,
But oft in those, confin'd to single Parts.
Like Kings we lose the Conquests gain'd before,
By vain Ambition still to make them more:
Each might his sev'ral Province well command,
Wou'd all but stoop to what they understand.

First follow NATURE, and your Judgment frame
By her just Standard, which is still the same:
Unerring Nature, still divinely bright,
One clear, unchang'd and Universal Light,
Life, Force, and Beauty, must to all impart,
At once the...Read More

by Emerson, Ralph Waldo
...noon and wantonness,
Is early frugal, like a beggar's child;
Even in the hot pursuit of the best aims
And prizes of ambition, checks its hand,
Like Alpine cataracts frozen as they leaped,
Chilled with a miserly comparison
Of the toy's purchase with the length of life. ...Read More

by Pope, Alexander
...The First Epistle

Awake, my ST. JOHN!(1) leave all meaner things 
To low ambition, and the pride of Kings. 
Let us (since Life can little more supply 
Than just to look about us and to die) 
Expatiate(2) free o'er all this scene of Man; 
A mighty maze! but not without a plan; 
A Wild, where weeds and flow'rs promiscuous shoot, 
Or Garden, tempting with forbidden fruit. 
Together let us beat this ample field, 
Try what the...Read More

by Hugo, Victor
...rnal care 
 They brothers are, this royal bandit pair. 
 Oh, noxious conquerors! with transient rule 
 Chimera heads—ambition can but fool. 
 Their misty minds but harbor rottenness 
 Loathsome and fetid, and all barrenness— 
 Their deeds to ashes turn, and, hydra-bred, 
 The mystic skeleton is theirs to dread. 
 The daring German and the cunning Pole 
 Noted to-day a woman had control 
 Of lands, and watched Mahaud like evil spies; 
 And from the Emp'ror's cruel m...Read More

by Carver, Raymond
...e sky is taking on light,
though the moon still hangs pale over the water.

Such beauty that for a minute
death and ambition, even love,
doesn't enter into this.

Happiness. It comes on
unexpectedly. And goes beyond, really,
any early morning talk about it....Read More

by Byron, George (Lord)
...wn the wound: 
All these seem'd his, and something more beneath 
Than glance could well reveal, or accent breathe. 
Ambition, glory, love, the common aim 
That some can conquer, and that all would claim, 
Within his breast appear'd no more to strive, 
Yet seem'd as lately they had been alive; 
And some deep feeling it were vain to trace 
At moments lighten'd o'er his livid face. 


Not much he loved long question of the past, 
Nor told of wondrous wilds, and ...Read More

by Robinson, Mary Darby
...d dead escape thy rage; 
Thy vengeance haunts the silent grave, 
Thy taunts insult the ashes of the brave; 
While proud AMBITION weeps thy rancour to assuage. 
The laurels round the POET's bust, 
Twin'd by the liberal hand of Taste, 
By thy malignant grasp defac'd, 
Fade to their native dust: 
Thy ever-watchful eye no labour tires, 
Beneath thy venom'd touch the angel TRUTH expires. 

When in thy petrifying car
Thy scaly dragons waft thy form, 
Then, swifter, deadlier...Read More

by Milton, John
...not built 
Here for his envy, will not drive us hence: 
Here we may reigh secure; and, in my choice, 
To reign is worth ambition, though in Hell: 
Better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven. 
But wherefore let we then our faithful friends, 
Th' associates and co-partners of our loss, 
Lie thus astonished on th' oblivious pool, 
And call them not to share with us their part 
In this unhappy mansion, or once more 
With rallied arms to try what may be yet 
Regained in Heav...Read More

by Milton, John
Lose all their virtue; lest bad men should boast 
Their specious deeds on earth, which glory excites, 
Or close ambition varnished o'er with zeal. 
 Thus they their doubtful consultations dark 
Ended, rejoicing in their matchless Chief: 
As, when from mountain-tops the dusky clouds 
Ascending, while the north wind sleeps, o'erspread 
Heaven's cheerful face, the louring element 
Scowls o'er the darkened landscape snow or shower, 
If chance the radiant sun, with far...Read More

by Milton, John
That bring to my remembrance from what state 
I fell, how glorious once above thy sphere; 
Till pride and worse ambition threw me down 
Warring in Heaven against Heaven's matchless King: 
Ah, wherefore! he deserved no such return 
From me, whom he created what I was 
In that bright eminence, and with his good 
Upbraided none; nor was his service hard. 
What could be less than to afford him praise, 
The easiest recompence, and pay him thanks, 
How due! yet all his ...Read More

by Milton, John
...ed with bestial slime, 
This essence to incarnate and imbrute, 
That to the highth of Deity aspired! 
But what will not ambition and revenge 
Descend to? Who aspires, must down as low 
As high he soared; obnoxious, first or last, 
To basest things. Revenge, at first though sweet, 
Bitter ere long, back on itself recoils: 
Let it; I reck not, so it light well aimed, 
Since higher I fall short, on him who next 
Provokes my envy, this new favourite 
Of Heaven, this man of cl...Read More

by Wilde, Oscar greatness: who would dare
To vent the paltry sorrows of his life
Before thy ruins, or to praise the strife
Of kings' ambition, and the barren pride
Of warring nations! wert not thou the Bride
Of the wild Lord of Adria's stormy sea!
The Queen of double Empires! and to thee
Were not the nations given as thy prey!
And now - thy gates lie open night and day,
The grass grows green on every tower and hall,
The ghastly fig hath cleft thy bastioned wall;
And where thy mailed warri...Read More

by Milton, John
...e against their Conquerours
Acknowledg'd not, or not at all consider'd
Deliverance offerd : I on th' other side
Us'd no ambition to commend my deeds,
The deeds themselves, though mute, spoke loud the dooer;
But they persisted deaf, and would not seem
To count them things worth notice, till at length 
Thir Lords the Philistines with gather'd powers
Enterd Judea seeking mee, who then
Safe to the rock of Etham was retir'd,
Not flying, but fore-casting in what place
To set upon t...Read More

by Byron, George (Lord)
Not that against her fancied weal 
His heart though stern could ever feel; 
Affection chain'd her to that heart; 
Ambition tore the links apart. 


"Zuleika! child of gentleness! 
How dear this very day must tell, 
When I forget my own distress, 
In losing what I love so well, 
To bid thee with another dwell: 
Another! and a braver man 
Was never seen in battle's van. 
We Moslems reck not much of blood; 
But yet the line of Carasman [7] 
Unchanged, unc...Read More

by Bridges, Robert Seymour
...enjoyment calm in its excess,
With not a grief to cloud, and not a ray
Of passion overhot my peace to oppress;
With no ambition to reproach delay,
Nor rapture to disturb its happiness. 

A man that sees by chance his picture, made
As once a child he was, handling some toy,
Will gaze to find his spirit within the boy,
Yet hath no secret with the soul pourtray'd:
He cannot think the simple thought which play'd
Upon those features then so frank and coy;
'Tis his, yet oh!...Read More

by Carroll, Lewis
...ntly carries about,
And believes that they add to the beauty of scenes--
 A sentiment open to doubt.

"The fifth is ambition. It next will be right
 To describe each particular batch:
Distinguishing those that have feathers, and bite,
 From those that have whiskers, and scratch.

"For, although common Snarks do no manner of harm,
 Yet, I feel it my duty to say,
Some are Boojums--" The Bellman broke off in alarm,
 For the Baker had fainted away.

FIT III.-...Read More

by Robinson, Edwin Arlington
A sick negation born of weak denials,
A crazed abhorrence of an old condition, 
A blind attendance on a brief ambition,— 
Whatever stayed him or derided him, 
His way was even as ours; 
And we, with all our wounds and all our powers,
Must each await alone at his own height 
Another darkness or another light; 
And there, of our poor self dominion reft, 
If inference and reason shun 
Hell, Heaven, and Oblivion,
May thwarted will (perforce precarious, 
But for our cons...Read More

by Dryden, John
A beardless chief, a rebel ere a man, 
So young his hatred to his Prince began. 
Next this, (how wildly will ambition steer!) 
A vermin wriggling in the usurper's ear, 
Bartering his venal wit for sums of gold, 
He cast himself into the saint-like mould; 
Groaned, sighed, and prayed, while godliness was gain, 
The loudest bag-pipe of the squeaking train. 
But, as 'tis hard to cheat a juggler's eyes, 
His open lewdness he could ne'er disguise. 
There split t...Read More

by Byron, George (Lord)
...Satanic School,' the which he doth recommend to the notice of the legislature; thereby adding to his other laurels, the ambition of those of an informer. If there exists anywhere, except in his imagination, such a School, is he not sufficiently armed against it by his own intense vanity? The truth is, that there are certain writers whom Mr. S. imagines, like Scrub, to have 'talked of him; for they have laughed consumedly.' 

I think I know enough of most of th...Read More

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