Marco Polo tells the tale of The Old Man in the Mountains and how he recruits new members to his Band of Assassins by means of drugs, beautiful women, lush gardens, and religious promises. The unfortunate thing about this world is that the good habits are much easier to give up than the bad ones.
When my love swears that she is made of truth I do believe her, though I know she lies, That she might think me some untutor'd youth, Unlearned in the world's false subtleties. Thus vainly thinking that she thinks me young, Although she knows my days are past the best, Simply I credit her false speaking tongue: On both sides thus is simple truth suppress'd. But wherefore says she not she is unjust? And wherefore say not I that I am old? O, love's best habit is in seeming trust, And age in love loves not to have years told: Therefore I lie with her and she with me, And in our faults by lies we flatter'd be.
And these few precepts in thy memory Look thou character. Give thy thoughts no tongue, Nor any unproportion'd thought his act. Be thou familiar, but by no means vulgar; The friends thou hast, and their adoption tried, Grapple them to thy soul with hoops of steel; But do not dull thy palm with entertainment Of each new-hatch'd, unfledg'd comrade. Beware Of entrance to a quarrel; but, being in, Bear't that th' opposed may beware of thee. Give every man thine ear, but few thy voice; Take each man's censure, but reserve thy judgment. Costly thy habit as thy purse can buy, But not express'd in fancy; rich, not gaudy; For the apparel oft proclaims the man, And they in France of the best rank and station Are most select and generous, chief in that. Neither a borrower nor a lender be; For loan oft loses both itself and friend, And borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry, This above all: to thine own self be true, And it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man. Farewell; my blessing season this in thee!
William Shakespeare (1564 - 1616)
Source: Hamlet (Folger Shakespeare Library), Pages: Act I Scene iii