This company contained the cowardly

Brad Delong (who has been really good lately, at least in his economics-only feed) points to this excerpt from The Inferno:

Ed elli a me: «Questo misero modo
tegnon l’anime triste di coloro
che visser sanza ‘nfamia e sanza lodo.

And he to me: “This miserable way
is taken by the sorry souls of those
who lived without disgrace and without praise.

Mischiate sono a quel cattivo coro
de li angeli che non furon ribelli
né fur fedeli a Dio, ma per sé fuoro.

They now commingle with the coward angels,
the company of those who were not rebels
nor faithful to their God, but stood apart.

Caccianli i ciel per non esser men belli,
né lo profondo inferno li riceve,
ch’alcuna gloria i rei avrebber d’elli».

The heavens, that their beauty not be lessened,
have cast them out, nor will deep Hell receive them-
even the wicked cannot glory in them.”

E io: «Maestro, che è tanto greve
a lor, che lamentar li fa sì forte?».
Rispuose: «Dicerolti molto breve.

And I: “What is it, master, that oppresses
these souls, compelling them to wail so loud?”
He answered: “I shall tell you in few words.

Questi non hanno speranza di morte
e la lor cieca vita è tanto bassa,
che ‘nvidiosi son d’ogne altra sorte.

Those who are here can place no hope in death,
and their blind life is so abject that they
are envious of every other fate.

Fama di loro il mondo esser non lassa;
misericordia e giustizia li sdegna:
non ragioniam di lor, ma guarda e passa».

The world will let no fame of theirs endure;
both justice and compassion must disdain them;
let us not talk of them, but look and pass.”

E io, che riguardai, vidi una ‘nsegna
che girando correva tanto ratta,
che d’ogne posa mi parea indegna;

And I, looking more closely, saw a banner
that, as it wheeled about, raced on-so quick
that any respite seemed unsuited to it.

e dietro le venìa sì lunga tratta
di gente, ch’i’ non averei creduto
che morte tanta n’avesse disfatta.

Behind that banner trailed so long a file
of people-I should never have believed
that death could have unmade so many souls.

Poscia ch’io v’ebbi alcun riconosciuto,
vidi e conobbi l’ombra di colui
che fece per viltade il gran rifiuto.

After I had identified a few,
I saw and recognized the shade of him
who made, through cowardice, the great refusal.

Incontanente intesi e certo fui
che questa era la setta d’i cattivi,
a Dio spiacenti e a’ nemici sui.

At once I understood with certainty:
this company contained the cowardly,
hateful to God and to His enemies.

Also, Brad calls Greg Mankiw a coward… that’s fun.

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