about the archives
information for researchers
about our collections
search our collections
records management
research resources
line spacer
site map
contact us
line spacer
archives home
notre dame home

Online Exhibits > Notre Dame Campus in the 19th Century


St. Joseph's Lake

Excerpt from 1865 Guide to Notre Dame and St. Mary's

We are now come to the Lake of St. Joseph, -- circled round with trees. Let us sit down on this fallen trunk and contemplate the scene; it were difficult to exaggerate its beauty.

"Placid St. Joseph's, thy contrasted lake
With the wild world I dwelt in, is a thing
Which warns me by its stillness to forsake
Earth's troubled pleasures for a purer spring.
This quiet sail is as a noiseless wing
To waft me from destruction: once I loved
Torn ocean's roar, but thy soft murmuring
Sounds sweet as if a sister's voice reproved
That I, with stern delights, should e'er have been so moved."

Yes, we will get a quiet sail over these peaceful waters, and lulled into a reverie by the enchanting influences around us, permit those influences to sink into our souls and impart their loving lessons. Hark! the chimes from the Church of the Sacred Heart are rehearsing the "ave verum corpus natum," and the spirit of the chant mingles with the gentle breezes, and sheds a yet deeper peace upon our spirits. Angels must be hovering near, fur the very air is becoming hallowed, and the rustling of the leaves seems to echo back the solemn words; we hold our breath in very awe, fearful to lose a single vibration, for nature is hushed into a thrilling stillness which works its way into the very depths of our being and etherealizes our every sense:

    All Heaven and Earth are still! tho' not in sleep
    But breathless as we grow when feeling most,
    Or silent as we stand in thoughts too deep!
    All Heaven and Earth are still! From the high Host
    Of Stars to the lulled lake and mountain coast. --
    All are concentred in a thought intense
    Where not a breath, or air, or leaf is lost
    But hath a touch of being and a sense
    Of that which is of all, Creator and defense.