“Desultory reading is indeed very mischievous, by fostering habits of loose, discontinuous thought, by turning the memory into a common sewer for rubbish of all thoughts to float through, and by relaxing the power of attention,
which of all our faculties most needs care, and is most improved by it.
But a well-regulated course of study will not more weaken the mind than hard exercise will weaken the body; nor will a strong understanding be weighed down by its knowledge, any more than oak is by its leaves, or than Samson was by his locks. He whose sinews are drained by his hair, must already be a weakling.
Above all, in the present age of light reading, that is of reading hastily, thoughtlessly, indiscriminately, unfruitfully, when most books are forgotten as
soon as they are finished, and very many sooner, it is well if something heavier is cast now and then into the midst of the literary public.
This may scare and repel the weak, it will rouse and attract the stronger, and increase their strength, by making them exert it. In the sweat of the brow, is the mind
as well as the body to eat its bread.”
Julius Charles Hare (1795-1855) Archdeacon of Lewes, theologian and German scholar
From: Books by Gerald Donaldson 1981. Phaidon, Oxford.