Πῶνε [καὶ μέθυ’ ὦ] Μελάνιππ’ ἄμ’ ἔμοι. τί [φαῖς
†ὄταμε[. . . .]διννάεντ’† Ἀχέροντα μέγ[αν πόρον
ζάβαι[ς ἀ]ελίω κόθαρον φάος [ἄψερον
ὄψεσθ’; ἀλλ’ ἄγι μὴ μεγάλων ἐπ[ιβάλλεο·
καὶ γὰρ Σίσυφος Αἰολίδαις βασίλευς [ἔφα
ἀνδρῶν πλεῖστα νοησάμενος [θανάτω κρέτην·
ἀλλὰ καὶ πολύιδρις ἔων ὐπὰ κᾶρι [δὶς
διννάεντ’ Ἀχέροντ’ ἐπέραισε, μ[
αὔτῳ μόχθον ἔχην Κρονίδαις βα[σίλευς κάτω
μελαίνας χθόνος· ἀλλ’ ἄγι μὴ τά[δ’ ἐπέλπεο·
θᾶς] τ’ ἀβάσομεν αἴ ποτα κἄλλοτα . [
. . . ]ην ὄττινα τῶνδε πάθην τά[χα δῷ θέος.
(Alcaeus fr. 38A.1-12)
Drink and get drunk, Melanippus, with me. Why do you suppose that when you have crossed the great river of eddying (?) Acheron you will see again the sun’s pure light? Come, do not aim at great things: why, king Sisyphus*, son of Aeolus, wisest of men, supposed that he (was master of Death?); but despite his cunning he crossed eddying Acheron twice at fate’s command, and king Zeus, son of Cronus, devised a toil for him to have under the black earth. Come, do not hope for these things; now if ever, while we are young, it is fit to endure whatever of these things God may give us to suffer.
* Sisyphus told his wife to omit his funeral rites and was allowed to return from the underworld to take her to task. Once back, he stayed until he died of old age. When he reached Hades for the second time, he was condemned to push a boulder to the top of a hill from which it always rolled down again.
(tr. David A. Campbell, with his note)