a beggar on horseback

a beggar on horseback

One who has become unscrupulous or irresponsible due to the sudden acquisition of wealth. The phrase alludes to several related proverbs, such as "give a beggar a horse and he'll ride it to death" and "set a beggar on horseback and he'll ride to the devil," which suggest that an unexpected windfall is often misused or squandered. I'm not surprised to hear that he's broke again—he always seemed like a beggar on horseback.
See also: beggar, horseback, on

beggar on horseback

a formerly poor person made arrogant or corrupt through achieving wealth and luxury.
Compare with the mid 17th-century proverb set a beggar on horseback and he'll ride to the devil , meaning that a person not used to power will use it unwisely.
See also: beggar, horseback, on
References in classic literature ?
The uninvited guest Free and easy manners Salutary jokes A prodigal son Exit of the glutton A sudden change in fortune Danger of a visit to poor relations Plucking of a prosperous man A vagabond toilet A substitute for the very fine horse Hard travelling The uninvited guest and the patriarchal colt A beggar on horseback A catastrophe Exit of the merry vagabond
QCan you tell me where the saying "Put a beggar on horseback and they will ride to hell" originates from?
A The earliest written record of the phrase being used is Robert Burton's Anatomy of Melancholy of 1621, in the form "Set a beggar on horseback, and he will ride a gallop".