“The Ass's Complaint”


Singer meets a Catholic ass with the mark of the cross on his back complaining about having been sold to a Brunswicker. His MP master has turned on the ass for supporting Repeal. The singer wishes the ass may soon be stabled in College Green


Zimmermann, commenting on the last lines, "May he shortly be able in comfort to be seen, Placed in that splendid stable at home in College Green": "The Irish Parliament House ... stood on the N. side of College Green, Dublin."

Zimmermann 35: "'Brunswicker' was then more or less synonymous with 'Orangeman' or simply 'Protestant'."

Donkeys have a cross-shaped patch of dark hair on their back. In this broadside the ass claims it as a sign bestowed at the birth of Jesus that can not be claimed by any "Brunswicker."

Broadsides LOCSinging as110720 and Bodleian Harding B 26(495) are duplicates. - BS

Zimmermann's dating for this piece seems to be based on the internal evidence: It clearly reflects the conditions in the years from about 1828 to 1832, as Daniel O'Connell (whose basic issue was "Repeal" of the Uninon between Britain and Ireland) and his supporters worked their way into parliament.

For more on this situation, see the notes to "Fergus O'Connor and Independence." - RBW


  • LOCSinging, as110720[some words are illegible], "The Papist Ass," unknown, 19C
  • Bodleian, Harding B 26(495)[some words are illegible], "The Papist Ass," P. Brereton (Dublin), n.d.


  1. Zimmermann 46A, "The Ass's Complaint of the Union" (2 texts)
  2. BI, Zimm046A


Author: unknown
Earliest date: c.1830 (Zimmermann)