"Their [pedants'] constant overstraining of the Mind / Distorts the Brain, as Horses break their Wind / Or rude Confusions of the Things they read / Get up, like noxious Vapours, in the Head, / Until they have their constant Wanes and Fulls, / And Changes in the Insides of their Skulls."
— Butler, Samuel (1613-1680)
Among the ancient Writers and the modern;
And, while their Studies are between the one,
And th'other spent, have nothing of their own;
Like Spunges, are both Plants and Animals,
And equally to both their natures false.
For whether 'tis their want of Conversation,
Inclines them to all Sorts of Affectation,
Their sedentary Life and Melancholy,
The everlasting Nursery of Folly;
Their poring upon black and white too subt'ly
Has turn'd the Insides of their Brains to motly,
Or squand'ring of their Wits and Time upon
Too many things has made them fit for none;
Their constant overstraining of the Mind
Distorts the Brain, as Horses break their Wind;
Or rude Confusions of the Things they read
Get up, like noxious Vapours, in the Head,
Until they have their constant Wanes and Fulls,
And Changes in the Insides of their Skulls:
Or venturing beyond the Reach of Wit
Had render'd them for all Things else unfit;
But never bring the World and Books together,
And therefore never rightly judge of either;
Whence Multitudes of reverend Men and Critics
Have got a kind of intellectual Rickets,
And by th'immoderate Excess of Study
Have found the sickly Head t'outgrow the Body.
(vol. I, pp. 225-6)
See also "Satyr Upon the Imperfection and Abuse of Human Learning" in Satires and Miscellaneous Poetry and Prose, ed. René Lamar (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1928).