Water, water everywhere, / Nor any drop to drink

Lines from “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner,” by Samuel Taylor Coleridge. The speaker, a sailor on a becalmed ship, is surrounded by salt water that he cannot drink.

Note

By extension, these lines are used to describe a situation in which someone is in the midst of plenty but cannot partake of it.
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.