Distressed Cavalier is my personal blog. I use it as something of a journal, so it reflects my current thoughts and moods quite a lot. I actually decided to create the blog as an excuse to use the gorgeous Chateau theme when it was developed.
I call it Distressed Cavalier because the image of the distressed Cavalier carries a lot of meaning for me.
For those who don’t know, the image comes out of the English Civil War. The phrase itself is from Charles II’s account of his escape from the battle of Worcester and his hiding inside what became known as the Royal Oak.
But it has more recently been applied to the early gentlemen settlers of Virginia, many of whom were Cavaliers who left England during the Puritans’ republican tyranny. As a result, the phrase has acquired a special American meaning in addition to its original sense. That American meaning is only deepened by the American Civil War, fought by the descendants of Northern Puritans and Southern Cavaliers.
Today we live in a time when those same puritanical forces are again prevailing on us to remake the world into their New Jerusalem, leaving those of us who fight for traditional values in some real distress, at times forced to hide ourselves, like our beloved former king, inside the rotting heart of a tree of liberty.
Yet through it all, we can — and should — retain that spirit of happy optimism that led our puritanical opponents to (falsely) turn the name of our kind into a pejorative reference to apathy. To live the life of a conservative — the traditional way of life our ancestors shaped for millennia — is inherently cheerful. Sorrow is the root and flower of puritanism. And though they flourish now at our expense, we retain our ancient gaiety, transfiguring (as Yeats puts it) all that dread.