'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 I 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,
"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 all the loose strings
He played a melody as pure and sweet
As a caroling angel would sing.
The music ceased, and the auctioneer
In 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 ! Who'll make it two?
"Two thousand ! Who'll make it three?
"Three thousand once, three thousand twice,
"And going, and gone," said he.
The people cheered, but some of them said,
"We don't quite understand. What changed its worth?"
Swift came the reply: "The touch of a 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 of pottage, a glass of wine,
A game, and he travels on.
He's going once he's going twice
He's going and almost gone
When the Master comes, and the foolish crowd
Can never quite understand
The worth of a soul, and the change that comes
By the touch of the Master's hand.