"As idle as a painted ship upon a painted ocean"
The mariner up in the mast in a storm, Gustave Doré
Public DomainThe mariner up in the mast in a storm, Gustave Doré - Credit: wikimedia commons

This is a line from the famous poem The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, written 1797-8:

 

Day after day, day after day,

We stuck, nor breath nor motion;

As idle as a painted ship

Upon a painted ocean.

 

Water, water, everywhere,

And all the boards did shrink;

Water, water, everywhere,

Nor any drop to drink.

 

Read more of the poem here