English translation: When he got there, the cupboard was bare.
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19:10 Mar 14, 2008
English to English translations [PRO] Art/Literary - Idioms / Maxims / Sayings
English term or phrase:not getting one's just reward
This comes after a question posted in the Greek-English pair has had me racking my brain to no avail.
We are trying to translate a Greek idiom which literally says “he got to the spring but did not drink any water”. And it means that he was deprived of the chance to enjoy the fruits of his labour.
We are looking for an English (near-)equivalent, and not a nice way of phrasing an explanation.
It hasn’t much to do with either Sisyphus or Tantalus.
Pity you haven’t got an idiom like “he struggled all the way to heaven’s gates only to find they were closed for the day”. :-)
Do you have anything like the Greek idiom?
Bible-wise, I got as far as Moses: "he got to see the Promised Land, but not to enter it". The Greek idiom itself does not seem to have a near-equivalent in English, though I like Jack's nursery rhyme. The translator in the Greek pair was working on some tourist brochure and was happy with "it's like going to Paris and not seeing the Eiffel Tower". Thank you all very much for your bright ideas.