The Rainbow (by Christina Rossetti)
Boats sail on the rivers,
And ships sail on the seas;
But clouds that sail across the sky
Are prettier than these.
There are bridges on the rivers,
As pretty as you please;
But the bow that bridges heaven,
And overtops the trees,
And builds a road from earth to sky,
Is prettier far than these.
“The Rainbow” is a short poem by Christina Rossetti talking about the superior beauty of clouds and rainbows in comparison to ships and bridges, i.e. the superiority of nature over man-made creations.
In the first half of the poem the comparison is between boats, ships and the flying clouds. They are all beautiful and they all sail, but the clouds, which sail across the sky, win by far.
In the second half of the poem the comparison is between a bridge and a rainbow. They have both the same shape, and stretch across a distance, but the rainbow goes from the earth to the sky, rather than from one patch of ground to another.
Le barche navigano sui fiumi,
e le navi navigano sui mari;
ma le nuvole che navigano nel cielo
sono ancor più belle.
Ci sono ponti sui fiumi,
belli come vi pare;
ma l’arco che fa da ponte alla volta celeste,
che sovrasta gli alberi,
e costruisce una strada dalla terra al cielo,
è molto più bello.