"Laws are like cobwebs which may catch small flies,
but let wasps and hornets break through."
Jonathan Swift
(1667-1745) Anglo-Irish Poet and Satirist
A Critical Essay upon the Faculties of the Mind, 1707, & Gullivers Travels, 1726
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Reader comments about this quote:
Swift is here reformulating a much older quotation from the Greek poet Anacharsis (sixth century BC): "Written laws are like spider's webs; they will catch, it is true, the weak and poor, but would be torn in pieces by the rich and powerful." Swift is certainly not plagiarising or passing off on his own - the Anacharsis quote would have been so familiar in his day that there would have been no question of plagiarism.
 -- Jack, Brussels     
    Congress and the Senate are hornets, and rich businessmen are wasps. I think the people need some "Raid".
     -- Joe, Rochester, MI     
    In governments of men (as are averse to governments at law) carnal man's laws are well recognized by the above quote.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
  • 1
    He had to be inspired by someone. We see who spread the webs. Joe I'm not sure there is a can big enough. In the old days you might burn them out. But that takes a long stick.
     -- watchman13, USA     
    So much for 'justice is blind.' When the law becomes a tool for plundering, there is no justice. 'The big criminals hang the small ones.'
     -- E Archer, NYC     
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