19th Century

Ambition | Susannah Frances Reynolds

By Mrs [Susannah Frances] Reynolds in 1841 and transcribed by Jessica Elizabeth Thomas

Oft does th’ unconscious vessel fly

To distant coasts were billows high

In dread confusion roar;

And of the danger unaware,

Hoping to find a refuge there,

She splits upon the shore; –

So does ambition urge us on

Inviting power to gain!

And when our highest hopes are won,

We find our happiness undone

By that we would attain.

Ambition bids us stoop to crime,

And bears onto the latest time

Of frailty many a token:

The wisest often fall away,

And chiefs regret their peace decay,

When honour’s laws are broken.

Ambition is the nurse of woe,

And hastens to the grave,

Of life the evanescent glow,

And bids the crimson current flow

From them it cannot save!

Original citation: Mrs. Reynolds, “Ambition” The Teetotaler, 2 January 1841, Vol. 1. No. 28, p. 220