It is no small mischief to a boy, that many of the best years of his life should be devoted to the learning of what can never be of any real use to any human being. His mind is necessarily rendered frivolous and superficial by the long habit of attaching importance to words instead of things; to sound instead of sense.
William Cobbett (1762–1835), British journalist, reformer. repr. In The Opinions of William Cobbett, ch. 16, ed. G.D.H. and Margaret Cole (1944). "To Mr. Benbow," Political Register (London, November 29, 1817).