The Touch of the Master's Hand

violin 'twas battered and scarred and the auctioneer
Thought it scarcely worth his while
To waste much time on the old violin,
But he held it up with a smile:

"What am bidden, good folks?" he cried,
"Who'll start the bidding for me?"
"A dollar! A dollar!" then "Two! Only two?"
"Two dollars, and who'll make it three?"

"Three dollars once, three dollars twice . . .
And 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 the old violin,
And tightening the loosened strings,
He played a melody pure and sweet,
As a carolling angel sings.

The music ceased, and the auctioneer
With a voice that was quiet and low
Said, "What am I bid for the old violin?"
And he held it up with the bow.

"A thousand dollars! And who'll make it two?
"Two thousand! Who'll make it three?
"Three going once? Three going twice?
"And going . . . and gone!" said he.

The people cheered but some of them cried,
"We do not understand!
What changed its worth?" -- Swift came the reply,
"The touch of the Master's Hand."

And many a man with life out of tune
And battered and scarred with sin
Is auctioned cheap to the thoughtless crowd
Much like the old violin.

A "mess 'o pottage"
A glass of wine
A game and he travels on.

He's "going" once
And "going" twice
And "going" . . . and almost "gone"

Then along comes the Master, and the foolish crowd
Never can quite understand
The worth of a soul or the change that's wrought
By the touch of the Master's Hand.

By Myra Ross Welch (1926)


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