In Hyperion (or The Fall of Hyperion, can't remember), from Simmons, Martin Silenus (the poet) uses a quote during his story.

I am not sure if this is a quote from Keats (can't find anything related), but the quote said that the choosing of words and the understanding of their meaning was very important.

Is someone able to identify this quote ? I do not have access to my copy of the book.

1 Answer 1


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.

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