‘Twas battered and scarred, and the auctioneer
Thought it scarcely worth his while
To waste much time on an old violin,
But he held it up with a smile.
“What am I bidden, good folks,” he cried,
“Who’ll start biddin’ for me?
A dollar, a dollar–now who’ll make it two–
Two dollars, and who’ll make it three?
“Three dollars once, three dollars twice,
Going for three”… but no!
From the room far back a gray-haired man
Came forward and picked up the bow;
Then wiping the dust from the old violin,
And tightening up the strings,
He played a melody, pure and sweet,
As sweet as an angel sings.
The music ceased and the auctioneer
With a voice that was quiet and low,
Said: “What am I bidden for the old violin?”
And he held it up with the bow;
“A thousand dollars–and who’ll make it two?
Two thousand–and who’ll make it three?
Three thousand once, three thousand twice
And going–and gone,” said he.
The people cheered, but some of them cried,
“We do not quite understand–
What changed its worth?” The man replied:
“The touch of the master’s hand.”
And many a man with life out of tune,
And battered and torn with sin
Is auctioned cheap to a thoughtless crowd,
Much like the old violin.
A “mess of pottage,” a glass of drink,
A game and he travels on,
He’s going–and almost gone!
But the MASTER comes, and the foolish crowd
Never can quite understand,
The worth of a soul, and the change that’s wrought
By the touch of the MASTER’S hand.
–Myra Brooke Welch