Appended herein is my comment to a thread authored in another forum where I am a Member. Upon reflection I thought the membership here might also enjoy it's heart-felt message of hope and renewal.
'Twas battered and scarred,
And the auctioneer thought it
hardly worth his while
To waste his time on the old violin,
but he held it up with a smile.
"What am I bid, good people", he cried,
"Who starts the bidding for me?"
"One dollar, one dollar, Do I hear two?"
"Two dollars, who makes it three?"
"Three dollars once, three dollars twice, going for three,"
From the room far back a gray bearded 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 the angel sings.
The music ceased and the auctioneer
With a voice that was quiet and low,
Said "What now am I bid for this old violin?"
As he held it aloft with its' bow.
"One thousand, one thousand, Do I hear two?"
"Two thousand, Who makes it three?"
"Three thousand once, three thousand twice,
Going and gone", said he.
The audience cheered,
But some of them cried,
"We just don't understand."
"What changed its' worth?"
Swift came the reply.
"The Touch of the Masters Hand."
And many a man with life out of tune
All battered with bourbon and gin
Is auctioned cheap to a thoughtless crowd
Much like that old violin
A mess of pottage, a glass of wine,
A game and he travels on.
He is going once, he is going twice,
He is 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 is wrought
By the Touch of the Masters' Hand.
Myra Brooks Welch
The poem upon which this text is based was penned by Myra Brooks Welch in 1927 and initially published anonymously until her son some years later let the cat out of the bag.
For any of our Membership interested I have available a mp3 (4.5 Mb) of this poem as a spoken-word recording, set to music, which I re-mastered from an earlier version our own Henry [Futilis®] had made for me (some 10-years ago it would now be) from the original which I would gladly e-Mail [ [email]email@example.com ] to those requesting it.
It's from the Walter Brennan stereo vinyl LP recording entitled MAMA SANG A SONG, released by Liberty Records [LST7266/LRP3266] in 1963. Walter was not the first to record this title, Gene Autry having that distinction, nor would he be the last by a long shot, it being a perennial favourite amongst the gospel and inspirational set.
In addition, I have the 1987 18-minute short film (193 Mb) entitled "The Touch of the Master's Hand" directed by Tom Christensen for LDS Productions (UPC: 727985005294) which I have uploaded to an internet lock-box which will enable you to download the film for your home viewing pleasure.
Warren C. E. Austin
The Gay Deceiver
[Updated on: Sat, 07 September 2013 03:37]
Oddly, I have just such a violin.
Bought by my grandfather at a house sale and he only bought it as the case was nice and the price was such the case was a bargain, with the violin thrown in. He got it home, tuned it, and played it and found the visually battered violin had a wonderful tone. He then only played that one till he died.
I inherited it, fitted a matching set of pegs, a new tail piece and tail gut and played it for many years until stopped by my increasing deafness. However the funny story is, many years ago I got it valued for insurance and the shop owner thought I was pulling his leg. I just said "play it, you'll see why I like it". He did and understood why.
It is an oddity, it is a cheap factory made fiddle, with no inlay round the edges, just paint applied where there would be inlay. It's old though, the only readable label is a repairers in Leeds (UK) and a date, in the 1860s. The original label may still be there, under the repairers label but no way can one check. My guess is the violin was fairly new when repaired and I think it fair to say, the repairer did a good job and the tone probably comes from the fact I think the sound post was either replaced or repositioned and absolutely in the right place.
I think I'll print the poem and tuck it in the case - which is now again, the one my grandfather bought.