“Cheerfulness” – An Encouraging Poem From The Archive

Our Archive holds copies of the “The People’s Friend” going back to our very first issue, in 1869.

Barry and the Team help us with research, such as looking for serials which would be a good fit for our Classics Collection.

While I was in the Archive doing some research recently, I spotted this poem, from an 1882 edition.

The Spirit Of The “Friend”

Entitled “Cheerfulness”, it seems to me to perfectly sum up the “People’s Friend” attitude of friendship, faith, and courage in the face of adversity.

Even in the most trying of times, this poem reminds us that when you have a “Friend” by your side, nothing’s insurmountable.

Better days will come. Sunny skies lie ahead.

Our readers often say how much they love “Friend” poetry, especially when it’s heartening or inspiring.

Mary Cross

Incidentally, while I was putting this piece together, I wondered if the author’s name, Mary Cross, could have been a pseudonym, which was common back in the day.

Or, if perhaps the poem had been kept on file, submitted under the married name of the author known as George Eliot.

Barry did a bit of digging and it seems likely that Mary Cross was the author’s real name, as a Mary Cross then went on to be a serial writer for us, from the 1880s to the early 1900s.

Fascinating times!


Hold firm my hand, dear friend, I pray,

The road is rough and dreary,

And cheer me with the hope of day,

For night is wild and weary.

Despite the darkness and the pain,

We’ll travel on together,

And we shall smile at byegone rain,

When comes the sunny weather.


It matters not that clouds are dark,

Fair futures lie before us,

And we shall hear again the lark

In blue skies singing o’er us.

Sharp are the stones to aching feet,

The way is set with bramble;

But where the moss is soft and sweet,

We two shall sometime ramble.


And all the sunshine we shall see,

The blossoms sweet and splendid,

To us shall all the brighter be,

Because of sorrow ended.

So on we go though day is done,

No time we lose repining,

But always watching, for the sun,

Shall soon behold him shining.


Mary Cross



Lucy Crichton

Fiction Editor Lucy is always on the look-out for the very best short stories, poems and pocket novels. As well as sourcing enjoyable content, she enjoys working with our established contributors, encouraging new talent, and celebrating 155 years of 'Friend' fiction!