I think you might be remembering the opening to Martin Silenus’ tale in Hyperion:
Francis Bacon once said, ‘There arises from a bad and unapt formation of words a wonderful obstruction to the mind.’
Dan Simmons (1989). Hyperion, p. 187. London: Headline.
This is from William Wood’s translation of Bacon’s Novum Organum:
Homines enim per sermones sociantur; At verba ex captu vulgi imponuntur. Itaque mala & ineptu verborum impositio, miris modis intellectum obsidet. Neque definitiones aut explicationes, quibus homines docti se munire & vindicare in nonnullis consueurunt, rem ullo modo restituunt. Sed verba plane vim faciunt intellectui, & omnia turbant; & homines ad inanes, & innumeras Controuersias, & commenta, deducunt.
For men converse by means of language; but words are formed at the will of the generality; and there arises from a bad and unapt formation of words a wonderful obstruction to the mind. Nor can the definitions and explanations, with which learned men are wont to guard and protect themselves in some instances, afford a complete remedy: words still manifestly force the understanding, throw every thing into confusion, and lead mankind into vain and innumerable controversies and fallacies.
Francis Bacon (1620). Novum Organum, 1.43. London: J. Billium. English translation by William Wood. In Basil Montague, ed. (1831). The Works of Francis Bacon, volume 14, p. 36. London: William Pickering.