Two Rivers Run by Campion
by James J. Daly, S.J.
Two rivers run by Campion
And hills engirdle it. And on
The grassy ramparts of the hills
Trees stand like watchful sentinals.
When summer smiles and winter frowns
The trees look down on little towns,
On little towns where every street
Quickly runs out of town to meet
A score of happy little farms
Nestling in the valley's arms.
Here where broad-bosomed rivers run
And, seaward, gliding, merge in one,
Where sentry-trees on every hill
Seem to call nightly, "All is well !
Hill-cloistered, with a cross upon
Her serene brow stands Campion.
Fifty years have come and gone
Like water where the rivers run
Since Campion to this valley came.
She came here in the sacred name
Of that great Heart which made the plea:
"Suffer the young to come to Me!"
Her hope was, with God's help, to be,
While seasons passed and came again
The nursing mother of strong men,
The mother of men, of Catholic men.
Two rivers run by Campion;
From uplands in the north they run
By cities, farms, and villages
Down to their home in southern seas.
They oft o'erbrim their channel-tops
Destroying homes and byres and crops
And in their frantic liberty
Leave trails of ruin to the sea.
But, ah, far greater rivers run
All day and night by Campion.
Young streams of life here learn to go,
Along their destined paths to flow,
In ways ordained by Heaven to be
Blest courses to Eternity:
Not bursting bounds and running wild
By drifting carcasses defiled,
And spreading ruin far and wide
In mad careers of foolish pride.
These are the rivers Campion
With anxious gaze looks down upon,
Rivers of life, young streams that may
Choose noble or ignoble way.
On perfumed evenings of June
Under a white low-swinging moon,
When the sun has plunged in golden wells
Of light behind McGregor hills,
And wheeling swifts have gone to rest
Each in his hidden chimney-nest,
And through the coulees in the hills
Are heard the plangent whip-poor-wills,
When all the playing-fields are still
But for the ryhthmical and shrill
Thin choruses of katydids
Upon their grassy coverlids,
On such calm evenings Campion seems
Sunk deep in prayer and wistful dreams.
A hundred windows point with light
The deep black shadows of the night,
Where paths of knowledge are pursued
In eager or reluctant mood.
Or else, unlitten all the halls,
The moon's white splendor, as it falls
Upon the chapel-windows, turns
To purple where the stained glass burns;
And through the open chapel-door
The rich tones of the organ pour,
While strong young voices fill the air
With holy hymn and vesper prayer.
On such an evening Campion
Broods motherwise on every son.
"Lord, guide their souls so that their days
May give Thee due incense of praise.
Teach them to love the gracious ways
In which Thy suns and stars fulfill
Thy infinite, eternal will.
Give them the graces to control
The mean impulses of the soul.
Mary protect! And Joseph guard!
And saints and angels watch and ward!
For them that are here, for them that are gone,
For living and dead, for every son,
Prayers go up from Campion.
Her joys and griefs, her hopes and fears,
Are for the sons of her fifty years.
The summer night is starry and still,
And nothing moves from hill to hill,
Except the rivers that never sleep
Down where the lines of willows weep,
And moonlight, like a benison,
Lies on the roofs of Campion.
God guard her in her hilly fold!
God bless her sons, both young and old!
And, Campion, when, our courses run,
We have our last reunion
May all be there to hail thee then,
Mother of men! mother of men!
Excerpt from 1960 Campion Knight Yearbook