I suppose one way to read it would be to think
of US being in thrall to "You and I", so "US" is
pleading with "You and I" to let "US" go; ie. free us.

Probably a silly reading, but one should nonetheless
test out the possibilities.


Dr. Peter C. Montgomery
Dept. of English
Camosun College
3100 Foul Bay Rd.
Victoria, BC CANADA V8P 5J2
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-----Original Message-----
From: Marcia Karp [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
Sent: Sunday, April 06, 2003 10:26 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: Grammar

[log in to unmask] wrote:

>The "you and I" identifies who the "us" is, doesn't it? It's not a direct
>address. It's rephrased as "You let us go", which expands to "You let you
>me go".
Dear Steve,
    I'm with you in being intrigued by the grammar of this.  Nancy, I
think your principle in a following post is fine and generalizable to
all aspects of a work of art: to take the artist at his word (or note or
brush stroke) unless there is good reason not to.

> My point is that there is no logical reason to attribute a grammatical
> failure to Eliot, and there is no syntactic reason to read it that way.

    Just a few notes ... The imperative (from command or rule) serves
many functions.  Here are some of them, expressed as verbs, since action
is the desired outcome of the mood: bless, challenge, command, concede,
counsel, define, demand, direct, entreat, exhort, invite, order, permit,
prohibit, recommend, request, suggest, vow, warn.
    Both the issuing voice and the addressee can be difficult to state,
even while they may felt.  So, Nancy's

> since the implied subject as plural produces "We, you and I, let us go."

make sense, but doesn't the singular addressee "You" work as well?  The
issuing voice (I can't think of a better way to put it) is singular, and
may or may not join the self and the other in the address.  (Us is a
union; you and I is a listing of the elements in the union.)

        Let there be light and there was light.

    Here it can't be the light that is addressed, since it doesn't yet
exist.  Something like "Let it be that there is light, ... "

    It's a wonderful use by Eliot of an elusive construction.  Elusive
to me, at least.

    Read (y'all) Christopher Smart's _Jubilate Agno_ for a large dose of
"Let."  You'll want Williamson's edition.  Wm. Force Stead gave us the
poem, but lacking its structure.  Wm. Bond gave us the structure.  (It's
a wonderful piece of textual and literary criticism.)  Williamson gives
us a finely imagined text.  Anyway, it is based on a Let/For antiphonal