ASS, n. A public singer with a good voice but no ear. In Virginia
City, Nevada, he is called the Washoe Canary, in Dakota, the Senator,
and everywhere the Donkey. The animal is widely and variously
celebrated in the literature, art and religion of every age and
country; no other so engages and fires the human imagination as this
noble vertebrate. Indeed, it is doubted by some (Ramasilus, _lib.
II., De Clem._, and C. Stantatus, _De Temperamente_) if it is not a
god; and as such we know it was worshiped by the Etruscans, and, if we
may believe Macrobious, by the Cupasians also. Of the only two
animals admitted into the Mahometan Paradise along with the souls of
men, the ass that carried Balaam is one, the dog of the Seven Sleepers
the other. This is no small distinction. From what has been written
about this beast might be compiled a library of great splendor and
magnitude, rivalling that of the Shakespearean cult, and that which
clusters about the Bible. It may be said, generally, that all
literature is more or less Asinine.
"Hail, holy Ass!" the quiring angels sing;
"Priest of Unreason, and of Discords King!"
Great co-Creator, let Thy glory shine:
God made all else, the Mule, the Mule is thine!"