Cloak and Sword Plays

Modern comedy, played in the ordinary costume of modern life. The phrase was adopted by Canderon who lived in Spain while gentlemen were accustomed to wear cloaks and swords For tragedy the men actors wore either heraldic or dramatico-historic dresses. In England actors in tragedy and old comedy wore the costume of Charles II's period, till quite recently

Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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