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The Touch of a Master’s Hand

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I was 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 I bidden, good folks,” he cried,
“who’ll start the bidding for me?
A dollar, a dollar – now two, only 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 all 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 bid 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 and 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 a 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 wine
A game – and he travels on.
He’s going once, and going twice,
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 ‘Brooks’ Welch