“Sweet joy befall thee!”

These were the words of William Blake, echoed by Pierson Dean Amerigo Fabbri in an e-mail to Pierson freshmen before tonight’s Freshman Dance.

Alluding to Blake’s collections “Songs of Innocence” and “Songs of Experience,” Fabbri told Pierson freshmen to enjoy their innocence and not get carried away by “a shady ‘experience:’”

Dreams and excitement do not only belong to the realm of imagination, as you know. They are very real, and we bear them in our selves. Imagination was William Blake’s muse, and in his “Songs of Innocence,” children are the keepers of a world in harmony with the laws of nature. You may recollect, though, that those same dreams, that fervid happiness both fade away in the “Songs of Experience,” where the social machinery and the preoccupation of an older age poison our good natural instincts.

Well, tomorrow night will be a time for imagination and poetry: the Dance is a time for “pretty joy” (W. Blake) to express itself. Please, don’t let it be spoiled by any one or any thing. You are that JOY that can say NO to a shady “experience” and welcome the beauty of an innocent and healthy happiness.

Fabbri also had a suggestion for how to greet your date:

–“ What shall I call thee? ”

And you’ll respond:

–“ ‘I happy am, / Joy is my name.’”

The dance starts at 10 p.m. in Commons, and tickets are $10 at the door.