All this can be read as a way of making sense, except I am sorry but it is
not a matter of making sense or of opinion. The "you and I" can,
theoretically, be an appositive for "us" (as you read it) OR it can be an
appositive for the implied "we" speaker OR it can be a direct address.
Only in the way you read it is there a grammatical mistake, and there is
no reason to assume a grammatical mistake. So it is not really a matter
of interpretation but a matter of grammar unless you want to assume Eliot
got it wrong, and why should he?
I now think I need to go back to texts for the descriptions of these
Date sent: Sun, 6 Apr 2003 15:42:54 -0400
Send reply to: "T. S. Eliot Discussion forum." <[log in to unmask]>
From: "Rickard A. Parker" <[log in to unmask]>
Subject: Re: Grammar (you and I)
To: [log in to unmask]
[log in to unmask] wrote:
> The "you and I" identifies who the "us" is, doesn't it?
I agree. In "Let us go then, you and I" the "you and I" seems to me
to be a tacked-on phrase to identify "us"; equivalent to "Pharoah, let
them go, Moses and his people."
What would make the usage a bit strange is that "you" can be singular or
plural and so "you and I" isn't needed. If there are only two people
there then "us" has to mean both of them and if there are more than two
then "you" doesn't really identify any singular person or persons in the
group (in a written context; verbally there could be a clue.)
This may be why the "you" is so often read as being the reader, and is an
invitation the reader into the poem. Since the phrase may not have much
meaning in a dramatic context (as if seen on a stage) then it may lead the
reader to think that he is being addressed (singular you) out of a larger
group (multiple readers, plural you).