Thursday, November 15, 2018

To Ambition

Here is another early poem from Clark Ashton Smith (CAS) that was never published in his lifetime, so let's begin with the text itself:

Achievement's spur, a spirit thou of fire
That in the bosoms of the high and great
Hath ever fiercely burned, without abate;
Whose flame hath made the lowly day aspire
To royal thrones, and lifted myriads higher;
Thou mak'st and unmak'st dynasty and state,
And oft on thee hath hung an empire's fate.
For all advance is to thy urging due
And mighty evils in thy path ensue.
The pages of all history to stain
Thy sprit doth both good and bad imbue
<And drives them on> to seek their ends amain.

In general terms, this is a minor item from the poetic corpus of CAS.  But it's an interesting reflection on his personal philosophy, acknowledging the positive and negative aspects of ambition.  This stance would seem to be somewhat in contrast to the overarching national myth of the United States, which tends not to recognize any negative aspects in the drive for achievement.

No comments:

Post a Comment