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Famous Ambitious Poems by Famous Poets

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

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by Thomas, Dylan
...n, a
little hatchet; and a celluloid duck that made, when you pressed it, a most unducklike sound, a mewing moo that
an ambitious cat might make who wished to be a cow; and a painting book in which I could make the grass, the
trees, the sea and the animals any colour I pleased, and still the dazzling sky-blue sheep are grazing in the
red field under the rainbow-billed and pea-green birds. Hardboileds, toffee, fudge and allsorts, crunches,
cracknels, humbugs, glaciers, mar...Read More

by Brackenridge, Hugh Henry
...r'd forth her sons in rapid chariot race, 
To shun the goal and reach the glorious palm. 
He sang the pride of some ambitious chief, 
For olive crowns and wreaths of glory won; 
I sing the rise of that all glorious light, 
Whose sacred dawn the aged fathers saw 
By faith's clear eye, through many a cloud obscure 
And heavy mist between: they saw it beam 
From Judah's royal tribe, they saw it shine 
O'er Judah's happy land, and bade the hills, 
The rocky hills and barren v...Read More

by Dryden, John
...high, is of celestial seed:
In God 'tis glory: And when men aspire,
'Tis but a spark too much of heavenly fire.
Th' ambitious youth, too covetous of fame,
Too full of angel's metal in his frame;
Unwarily was led from virtue's ways;
Made drunk with honour, and debauch'd with praise.
Half loath, and half consenting to the ill,
(For loyal blood within him struggled still)
He thus repli'd.—And what pretence have I
To take up arms for public liberty?
My Father governs ...Read More

by Sidney, Sir Philip
...Nay (more foole I) oft suffred you to sleepe
In lillies neast where Loues selfe lies along.
What, doth high place ambitious thoughts augment?
Is sawcinesse reward of curtesie?
Cannot such grace your silly selfe content,
But you must needs with those lips billing be,
And through those lips drinke nectar from that toong?
Leaue that, Syr Phip, least off your neck be wroong! 

High way, since you my chiefe Pernassus be,
And that my Muse, to some eares not v...Read More

by Browning, Robert
...ept quiet like the snake 'neath Michael's foot 
Who stands calm just because he feels it writhe. 
Or, if that's too ambitious,--here's my box-- 
I need the excitation of a pinch 
Threatening the torpor of the inside-nose 
Nigh on the imminent sneeze that never comes. 
"Leave it in peace" advise the simple folk: 
Make it aware of peace by itching-fits, 
Say I--let doubt occasion still more faith! 

You'll say, once all believed, man, woman, child, 
In that dear middle-...Read More

by Pope, Alexander
...a (108-62 B.C.) who was a traitor to Rome] 
13[Julius Caesar (100-44 B.C.) who was thought to be overly ambitious Roman] 
14[Alexander the Great (356-323 B.C.)] 
15[Psalm 8:5--"Thou hast made him [man] a little lower than the angels...."] 
16[small insect] 
17[vapors which were believed to pass odors to the brain] 
18[the West Wind] 
20[able to pick up a scent] 
21[having the odor of an animal] 
24[hone...Read More

by Yeats, William Butler
...cestral Houses

Surely among a rich man's flowering lawns,
Amid the rustle of his planted hills,
Life overflows without ambitious pains;
And rains down life until the basin spills,
And mounts more dizzy high the more it rains
As though to choose whatever shape it wills
And never stoop to a mechanical
Or servile shape, at others' beck and call.

Mere dreams, mere dreams! Yet Homer had not Sung
Had he not found it certain beyond dreams
That out of life's own self-delight ha...Read More

by Milton, John
To set himself in glory above his peers, 
He trusted to have equalled the Most High, 
If he opposed, and with ambitious aim 
Against the throne and monarchy of God, 
Raised impious war in Heaven and battle proud, 
With vain attempt. Him the Almighty Power 
Hurled headlong flaming from th' ethereal sky, 
With hideous ruin and combustion, down 
To bottomless perdition, there to dwell 
In adamantine chains and penal fire, 
Who durst defy th' Omnipotent to arms....Read More

by Milton, John
From faction: for none sure will claim in Hell 
Precedence; none whose portion is so small 
Of present pain that with ambitious mind 
Will covet more! With this advantage, then, 
To union, and firm faith, and firm accord, 
More than can be in Heaven, we now return 
To claim our just inheritance of old, 
Surer to prosper than prosperity 
Could have assured us; and by what best way, 
Whether of open war or covert guile, 
We now debate. Who can advise may speak." 
 He ...Read More

by Seeger, Alan in his ears! 
Men reach it through portals of triumph, but leave through a postern of tears. 

It was thither, ambitious, 
We came for Youth's right, 
When our lips yearned for kisses 
As moths for the light, 
When our souls cried for Love 
As for life-giving rain 
Wan leaves of the grove, 
Withered grass of the plain, 
And our flesh ached for Love-flesh beside it with bitter, intolerable pain. 

Under arbor and trellis, 
Full of flutes, full of flowers, 
What m...Read More

by Brautigan, Richard Hotel Trout

Fishing in America, a cheap hotel. It is very old and run by

some Chinese. They are young and ambitious Chinese and

the lobby is filled with the smell of Lysol.

 The Lysol sits like another guest on the stuffed furniture

reading a copy of the Chronicle, the Sports Section. It is the

only furniture I have ever seen in my life that looks like baby


 And the Lysol sits asleep next to an old Italian pensioner

who listens to the he...Read More

by Frost, Robert
...ady born.
Paul worked at anything in lumbering.
He'd been bard at it taking boards away
For--I forget--the last ambitious sawyer
To want to find out if he couldn't pile
The lumber on Paul till Paul begged for mercy.
They'd sliced the first slab off a big butt log,
And the sawyer had slammed the carriage back
To slam end-on again against the saw teeth.
To judge them by the way they caught themselves
When they saw what had happened to the log,
They must have had...Read More

by Milton, John
...have labour'd not a
little to be thought able to compose a Tragedy. Of that honour
Dionysius the elder was no less ambitious, then before of his
attaining to the Tyranny. Augustus Caesar also had begun his
Ajax, but unable to please his own judgment with what he had
begun. left it unfinisht. Seneca the Philosopher is by some thought
the Author of those Tragedies (at lest the best of them) that go
under that name. Gregory Nazianzen a Father of the Church,
...Read More

by Goldsmith, Oliver
And, pinched with cold, and shrinking from the shower,
With heavy heart deplores that luckless hour,
When idly first, ambitious of the town,
She left her wheel and robes of country brown.

Do thine, sweet Auburn, thine, the loveliest train,
Do thy fair tribes participate her pain?
E'en now, perhaps, by cold and hunger led,
At proud men's doors they ask a little bread!

Ah, no!—To distant climes, a dreary scene,
Where half the convex world intrudes between,
Through torri...Read More

by Bradstreet, Anne
...In that which riper age did scorn and slight,
2.21 In Rattles, Bables, and such toyish stuff.
2.22 My then ambitious thoughts were low enough.
2.23 My high-born soul so straitly was confin'd
2.24 That its own worth it did not know nor mind.
2.25 This little house of flesh did spacious count,
2.26 Through ignorance, all troubles did surmount,
2.27 Yet this advantage had mine ignorance,
2.28 Freedom from Envy and from Arrogance.
...Read More

by Scott, Sir Walter
...or his friends.—'
     'Thus is my clemency repaid?
     Presumptuous Lord!' the Monarch said:
     'Of thy misproud ambitious clan,
     Thou, James of Bothwell, wert the man,
     The only man, in whom a foe
     My woman-mercy would not know;
     But shall a Monarch's presence brook
     Injurious blow and haughty look?—
     What ho! the Captain of our Guard!
     Give the offender fitting ward.—
     Break off the sports!'—for tumult rose,
     And yeomen 'g...Read More

by Robinson, Edwin Arlington
...will not be erased, 
Or, save in incommunicable gleams
Too permanent for dreams, 
Be found or known. 
No tonic and ambitious irritant 
Of increase or of want 
Has made an otherwise insensate waste
Of ages overthrown 
A ruthless, veiled, implacable foretaste 
Of other ages that are still to be 
Depleted and rewarded variously 
Because a few, by fate’s economy,
Shall seem to move the world the way it goes; 
No soft evangel of equality, 
Safe-cradled in a communal repose 
T...Read More

by Dryden, John
Their General either shall his trust betray 
And force the crowd to arbitrary sway, 
Or they, suspecting his ambitious aim, 
In hate of kings shall cast anew the frame 
And thrust out Collatine that bore their name. 

Thus inborn broils the factions would engage, 
Or wars of exiled heirs, or foreign rage, 
Till halting vengeance overtook our age, 
And our wild labours, wearied into rest, 
Reclined us on a rightful monarch's breast. 

"Pudet hoec opprobria v...Read More

by Pope, Alexander
Not fierce Othello in so loud a Strain
Roar'd for the Handkerchief that caus'd his Pain.
But see how oft Ambitious Aims are cross'd,
And Chiefs contend 'till all the Prize is lost!
The Lock, obtain'd with Guilt, and kept with Pain,
In ev'ry place is sought, but sought in vain: 
With such a Prize no Mortal must be blest,
So Heav'n decrees! with Heav'n who can contest?

Some thought it mounted to the Lunar Sphere,
Since all things lost on Earth, are treasur'd the...Read More

by Petrarch, Francesco'd Troy, how many rudeAnd barbarous people are by me subdued?Many ambitious, vain, and amorous thoughtMy unwish'd presence hath to nothing brought;Now am I come to you, while yet your stateIs happy, ere you feel a harder fate.""On these you have no power," she then replied,(Who had more wort...Read More

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