Programming note: If you missed today's audio edition of Steyn's Song of the Week on Serenade Radio in the UK, do treat yourself and catch the rerun. It airs Monday morn at 5.30am London time - that's 9.30pm Sunday on the US and Canadian West Coast, so a kind of late-night vibe to it, but it's early Monday afternoon in Oz, so a mellow post-prandial feel to it. Whichever you prefer, we hope you'll tune in. You can listen from anywhere on the planet right here.
On the subject of rhymed words, albeit without accompanying music, welcome to a brand new entry to our Mark Steyn Club anthology of video poetry. Because, as I always say, video poetry is where the big bucks are.
Today's poem is Phyllis's Age by Matthew Prior, which is rather a laugh - and, although over three hundred years old, is oddly pertinent in the Covid era, among whose immediate side-effects last March was the instant loss to A-list telly personalities of the skilled makeup artistes who had lovingly tended them for so long. Mr Prior's meditation on the subject is very adroitly done.
It also marks, a little belatedly, the tricentenary of Prior's death on September 18th 1721. He was a diplomatist, a secret agent of the Crown, and not a bad poet. Born the son of a nonconformist joiner who died young, Matthew was raised by his uncle, a vintner, and then rose through society on his wits to became a valued counsellor to William of Orange. He kept on his toes very skillfully, save for a short spell in prison. If you know your history, you may recall the Treaty of Utrecht was popularly known as "Matt's Peace".
But he was also rather a laugh, and I have always liked Phyllis's Age in particular. To watch my reading of the poem, prefaced by my introduction, please click here and log-in.
If you'd like to catch up on earlier poems in the series, you can find them on our Sunday Poems home page. As with Tales for Our Time and our music specials and The Mark Steyn Show, we're archiving my video poetry in an easy-to-access Netflix-style tile format that we hope makes it the work of moments to prowl around and alight on something that piques your interest of a weekend, whether Kipling, Keats or The Kangaroo.
One other bonus of Steyn Club membership is that you can enjoy much of our content in whichever is your preferred form - video, audio, text. So, if you'd rather hear me read Phyllis's Age off-camera, please click here.
Steyn's Sunday Poem is a special production for The Mark Steyn Club. We launched the Steyn Club over four years ago, and in this our fifth year I'm immensely heartened by all the longtime SteynOnline regulars - from Fargo to Fiji, Madrid to Malaysia, West Virginia to Witless Bay - who've signed up to be a part of it. Membership in The Mark Steyn Club also comes with non-poetic benefits, including:
~Our latest audio adventure in Tales for Our Time, and its four-dozen thrilling predecessors;
~Other audio series on pertinent topics, such as our 2019 serialization of Climate Change: The Facts and this year's adaptation of Mark Steyn's Passing Parade;
~Exclusive Steyn Store member pricing on over 40 books, mugs, T-shirts, and other products;
~The opportunity to engage in live Clubland Q&A sessions with yours truly (such as last Thursday's);
~Transcript and audio versions of Mark's Mailbox, The Mark Steyn Show, and other video content, including today's poem;
~Advance booking for my live appearances around the world, including exclusive members-only events such as The Mark Steyn Christmas Show, assuming such events are ever again lawfully permitted;
~Customized email alerts for new content in your areas of interest;
~and the chance to support our print, audio and video ventures as they wing their way around the planet.
One other benefit to Club Membership is our Comment Club privileges. So, if you feel you'd like to do tmy, then give it your best below. Please do stay on topic on all our comment threads, because that's the way to keep them focused and readable. With that caution, have at it (in verse, if you wish).