Lucretius, On the Nature of Things 3.995-1002
Sisyphus in vita quoque nobis ante oculos est,
qui petere a populo fasces saevasque secures
imbibit et semper victus tristisque recedit.
nam petere imperium, quod inanest nec datur umquam,
atque in eo semper durum sufferre laborem,
hoc est adverso nixantem trudere monte
saxum, quod tamen e summo iam vertice rusum
volvitur et plani raptim petit aequora campi.
Sisyphus is also before our eyes during our lives – he’s a man who resolves to seek from the populace the fasces and the savage axes, and who always withdraws defeated and dejected. For to seek power (which is an empty name and is never granted), and for that purpose always to bear with hard toil, is to lean on a rock and shove it up an adverse hill; but then it’s already rolling back from the highest peak and making hurriedly for the flat ground’s plain.