Covetous Man

A Tantalus (q.v.).

In the full flood stands Tantalus, his skin
Washed o'er in vain, for ever dry within.
He catches at the stream with greedy lips -
From his parched mouth the wanton torrent slips ...
Change but the name, this fable is thy story:
Thou in a flood of useless wealth dost glory,
Which thou canst only touch, but never taste.

Cowley: Horace, satire i.

Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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