Chigire to

A folk song from the collection Sankachōchūka 山家鳥虫歌 ("Songs of the birds and insects [around] a mountain hut", I guess), attributed to Chikuzen province:

生れ来りしいにしへ問へば 君と契れと夢に見た
umarekitarishi inishie toeba/ kimi to chigire to yume ni mita
Searching out the time when I was born [lit. "long ago when I was born"], I saw in a dream that it was because of my bond with you.

At least, I think that's what kimi to chigire means here. Was the bare /-e/ form usable to express reasons that late? Maybe only in songs? Or in Chikuzen?

Another interpretation would be that the dream somehow ordered the singer to bond with the addressee, and the kimi (affectionate "you") is typical Japanese pronominal hanky-panky to be understood as "your affectionate 'you', i.e. him." That seems a bit more tortuous to me, but maybe.

Asano Kenji 浅野健二, editor of the 1984 Iwanami edition I have, supposes that this song is about oneiromancy of some sort, but does not touch on how to interpret kimi to chigire.

Meanwhile, a century or so earlier, Bankei did something different with the same first half in his folk song-metered hymn on the Unborn:

生まれ来たりしいにしえ問えば 何も思わぬこの心
来たる如くに心を持てば じきにこの身が生如来

umare kitarishi inishie toeba nani mo omowanu kono kokoro
kitaru gotoku ni kokoro o moteba/ jiki ni kono mi ga ikinyorai

Searching out the time that you were born, you'll find a mind that thinks of nothing. Hold your mind the way it came [into the world when you were born, i.e. thinking of nothing], and this very self right now is a living tathāgata.

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Maybe I'm missing something, but is it that torturous to take it as the imperative? With the sense of "dreamt I was told to be with you", being idiomatically equivalent (as far as Poetic Language will allow it) to something like "learned in a dream that it was you I was supposed to be with"?


That's the meaning I would take away from it, too. I guess there are two things about that reading that make me uneasy: (1) use of "kimi" (as I explain in the post I can imagine how it would theoretically work but I wonder how common such usage is), and (2) slightly jarring effect of an imperative as a response to an open-ended question. But both issues could just be me with a bad feel for probabilities.

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