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A Word about Violins

A Word about Violins

George W. Bailey was a dear friend of mine for many years.  For decades, he was an evangelist who travelled the world preaching the message of Christianity–the Good New.

Many remember George for his sermons and his ability to quote scripture, but I remember him best because of the following poem that I heard him recite on many occasions.

In fact, I was able to visit him just a few weeks prior to his death last year.  He did not remember who I was, but before we left,  I bent down and spoke to him the opening line of the poem.  He then recited it word for word without missing a beat!


‘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 will start bidding for me?

A dollar, a dollar, now two, only two…

Two dollars, 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 the 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.

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