OUR story of the English chronicle play has been fully told. Its kindred, the historical drama, whether that founded on annals of foreign countries of modern Europe or based on the richer stores of antiquity, have been traced from their beginnings to the latest specimens which held the stage before the opening of the civil war. In the last chapter, too, we brought to a conclusion our account of the successive steps by which the comedy of Jonson and Middleton was succeeded by that of Fletcher, Brome, and Shirley. It remains to us to complete the tale of romantic drama which we left as to tragedy and comedy, as well as with respect to the hybrid, tragicomedy, at the beginning of the reign of King Charles. The separation of material which this treatment involves is especially justifiable in this case; for, while the historical drama, tragedy on classical subjects, and even the masque, are earlier types persistent in the new reign, romantic drama, like the comedy of manners, took on a new character and enjoyed, in its latest modifications and decadence, a popularity hitherto unexampled. In a word, just as the chronicle play was distinctive of the last decade of the sixteenth century, or the comedy of humors and the tragedy of revenge mark the earlier years of King James, so Fletcherian tragicomedy, modified by the changed and at times fantastic ideals of the day into a de-
Decadent romanticism the distinctive "note" of the drama of King Charles I.