OT: 4 January 1919 “The Pipes of War” [article, photo, and poem]

The Oban Times, 4 January 1919


To this picturesque portrait of a Highland piper a particular interest is attached. It is a reproduction of a painting from the brush of a famous French artist, Raymond Desvarreux, to the order of the French Government. The Highlanders who had the distinction of posing as the model for the picture is Piper James MacNiven, Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders. He is a native of Tiree where he was born forty-five years ago, and is the eldest of five brothers, who are all in the Army. Rev. John MacNiven, Paisley, is a cousin.  The gallant piper stands well over six feet in height, and has seen much active service in France with his famous regiment. This fine picture of a representative Highland piper, we may be sure, will be highly prized in France, where the deeds of the Highland regiments are classic, and among his people the bagpipe has inspired a most devoted affection.


The pibroch, man, the pibroch! Don’t you hear it
Upon the north wind ‘neath the list’ning sky?
A thousand shouting voices rise to cheer it
As proud the kilted Highlanders go by.

There’s breath of moor and ben in it,
And sough of Highland glen in it,
There’s battle’s  roar by sea and shore
And tramp of marching man in it.

There’s rune of ancient pride in it
And dirge of the man who died in it,
There’s daring bold of heroes old,
And strength that kings defied in it.

There’s feud of blood and hate and it,
And Vengeance crying yet in it,
There’s rousing song of woe and wrong
That we may ne’er forget in it.

There’s note of haunting fears in it,
And missed of parting tears and it,
There’s grief forlorn in anguish borne
Adown the fleeting years and it.

There’s dash of sea and foam in it,
There’s sigh of sons who roam in it,
There’s blending strain of love and pain
That calls the wand’rer home in it.
Murdoch Miretown