Makes sense to me.
From: Carrol Cox [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
Sent: Tuesday, June 29, 2004 6:02 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: cargo
Marcia Karp wrote:
>> Dear Peter,
> I'd like to know what the poet intended for the capitalization
> before I imagines reasons for it, and please don't think that the only
> thinking I do is done publicly.
> How, from the facts below do you conclude the correct capitalization?
There was a debate over several decades (I believe starting in the
1920s, but it was almost 60 years ago that I read some material on the
question) over whether to capitalize "Negro" or not. Hence while Eliot
was growing and through most of his adult life he (or any contemporary)
would have seen the word numerous times both with and without a capital.
Presumably this would also have true of typesetters, proofreaders, etc
A speculation: Had someone asked Eliot in 1950 which spelling he meant
his response would probably have been "Huh?"
Any construal of the line certainly has to give some explanation of the
collocation of negroes (or Negroes), chicken coops, and cows.
My copy of 4Q is apparently a first edition, but the jacket contains a
reference to Eliot's Nobel prize. This line is printed on one line of
type, rather than with "chicken coops" on a separate line as in the
_Collected Poems_. (The book is falling apart and the margins of many
pages are filled with annotations, so it's no collector's item.)