“WESTRON WYNDE” AND WESTERN LITERATURE. The Economist says that: “Almost everything about these lines is mysterious.” The earliest version of “Westron Wynde” shows up in a collection from about 1530, but that it was probably a folk lyric dating from the 14th century. The poet is “anonymous”. The Economist thinks that: “The four lines are “not elegant.; purists would say that the grammar fractures between the first line and the second….”
The Economist places these four lines in the course of Western literature. In three full pages of analysis, it discusses the role of Zephyrus. the West Wind, in the Odyssey, and in Botticelli’s Birth of Venus, and in Shelley’s “Ode to the West Wind”.
I come from a generation that was was taught by the New Criticism to not pay attention to things outside the poem and so for me, the most important sentence in the Economist commentary is:
“There is …. an almost giddy fall from the wide heavens where the wind resides to one small, ordinary bed, from the diffusely vast, to the particular.”