by Danielle DiMartino Booth
David Stockman’s Contra Corner
“Kings have long arms, many ears, and many eyes.” So read an English proverb dated back to the year of our Lord 1539. And thus was born an idiom that today translates to the very familiar Long Arm of the Law. It stands to reason that such a warning was born of feudal times when omnipotent and seemingly omnipresent monarchs personified the law, possessed of reach, eyes and ears against any and all nefarious souls who dare defy and attempt an escape into thick, ancient forests under dark cover of night.
Today we use the very descriptive and accurate idiom with little thought as to how it came to be a part of our modern language. The credit should go to Charles Dickens for bringing that borrowed but altered expression forward in time.