This has been both a popular poem and song for decades. It has been recorded by the likes of Tex Ritter, Walter Brennan and Jimmy Dean. Myra Brooks, though confined to a wheel chair, and afflicted with arthritis, used the eraser ends of pencils to type this poem.
THE TOUCH OF THE MASTER’S HAND
by Myra Brooks Welch
It was battered and scarred, and the auctioneer thought
it was hardly worth his while,
to waste much time on the old violin, but he held it up with a smile.
“It sure ain't much, but its all we’ve got left. I guess we ought to sell it too.”
“Now what am I bid for this old violin? Just one more and we’ll be through.”
And then he said; “One, give me one dollar. Who’ll make it two?
Only two dollars? Who’ll make it three?
Three dollars twice, that’s a good price. But who’s got a bid for me?
Raise up your hand and don’t wait any longer. The auction is about to end.
Who’s got four? just one dollar more to bid on this old violin.”
Well the air was hot and the people stood around. No one cared to go.
From the back of the crowd, and old man stepped,
came forward and picked up the bow.
He wiped the dust from the old violin and he tightened up the strings.
Then he played out a melody sweet and soft, as sweet as an angel sings.
Then the music stopped. And the auctioneer, with a voice that was quiet and low,
said “What am I bid for this fine violin.” Then he held it up with the bow.
Then he cried “One give me one thousand, who’ll make it two?
Only two thousand? Who’ll make it three?
Three thousand twice, that’s a good price but who’s got a bid for me?
The people cried out “What made the change? We don’t understand.”
Then the auctioneer stopped and he said with a smile;
“It was the touch of the master’s hand.”
Now you know, many a man has his life out of tune.
And he’s battered and scarred by sin.
And he’s auctioned cheap to a thankless world, much like the old violin.
Then the Master comes and the foolish crowd can never understand,
the worth of a soul and the changes wrought,
by the touch of the Master’s hand.