Half/full

Rising this day with a full design to mind nothing else but to make up my accounts for the year past, I did take money, and walk forth to several places in the towne as far as the New Exchange, to pay all my debts, it being still a very great frost and good walking. I staid at the Fleece Tavern in Covent Garden while my boy Tom went to W. Joyce’s to pay what I owed for candles there. Thence to the New Exchange to clear my wife’s score, and so going back again I met Doll Lane (Mrs. Martin’s sister), with another young woman of the Hall, one Scott, and took them to the Half Moon Taverne and there drank some burnt wine with them, without more pleasure, and so away home by coach, and there to dinner, and then to my accounts, wherein, at last, I find them clear and right; but, to my great discontent, do find that my gettings this year have been 573l. less than my last: it being this year in all but 2,986l.; whereas, the last, I got 3,560l.. And then again my spendings this year have exceeded my spendings the last by 644l.: my whole spendings last year being but 509l.; whereas this year, it appears, I have spent 1154l., which is a sum not fit to be said that ever I should spend in one year, before I am master of a better estate than I am. Yet, blessed be God! and I pray God make me thankful for it, I do find myself worth in money, all good, above 6,200l.; which is above 1800l. more than I was the last year. This, I trust in God, will make me thankfull for what I have, and carefull to make up by care next year what by my negligence and prodigality I have lost and spent this year.
The doing of this, and entering of it fair, with the sorting of all my expenses, to see how and in what points I have exceeded, did make it late work, till my eyes become very sore and ill, and then did give over, and supper, and to bed.
Thus ends this year of publick wonder and mischief to this nation, and, therefore, generally wished by all people to have an end. Myself and family well, having four mayds and one clerk, Tom, in my house, and my brother, now with me, to spend time in order to his preferment. Our healths all well, only my eyes with overworking them are sore as candlelight comes to them, and not else; publick matters in a most sad condition; seamen discouraged for want of pay, and are become not to be governed: nor, as matters are now, can any fleete go out next year. Our enemies, French and Dutch, great, and grow more by our poverty. The Parliament backward in raising, because jealous of the spending of the money; the City less and less likely to be built again, every body settling elsewhere, and nobody encouraged to trade. A sad, vicious, negligent Court, and all sober men there fearful of the ruin of the whole kingdom this next year; from which, good God deliver us! One thing I reckon remarkable in my owne condition is, that I am come to abound in good plate, so as at all entertainments to be served wholly with silver plates, having two dozen and a half.

the half moon appears full
for what I have lost
what I have exceeded

my eyes give up wonder

light comes to them
in a sad condition now

I grow backward like an ear
whole at half


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Monday 31 December 1666.

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