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WADESON, ANTHONY (fl. 1600), playwright, borrowed, on 13 June 1601, twenty shillings of Philip Henslowe, the theatrical manager, on account of a play on which he was engaged, bearing the title ‘The honourable life of the humorous Earle of Gloster, with his conquest of Portugall’ (Henslowe, Diary, p. 183). The piece, which was to be acted by the Lord Admiral's company, is not known to be extant. But there is reason to believe that the play was the sequel of a comedy which still survives in print. A year before Wadeson was commissioned to write for Henslowe ‘The lyfe of the humorous Earl of Gloster’ there was published ‘A Pleasant Commodie called Looke about You. As it was lately played by … the Lord High Admirall his seruants’ (London, for William Ferbrand, 1600, 4to). In this effective, if somewhat bustling, comedy the ‘fantastical Robert [Earl] of Gloster’—obviously the hero of Wadeson's piece of 1601—was a leading character. At the close of ‘Look about You’ the ‘humorous earl’ announces that he is about to proceed to Portugal on a crusade against ‘the unchrist'ned Saracens.’ These words may be interpreted as a promise on the part of the author to treat in a sequel of the earl's ‘conquest of Portugal.’ Consequently Wadeson, who embodied that topic, according to Henslowe's ‘Diary,’ in his play of 1601, may be regarded as author also of ‘Look about You.’ That piece was probably written for Henslowe between 17 April and 26 May 1599—a period for which his diary is lost. It is reprinted in Dodsley's ‘Old Plays’ (ed. Hazlitt, vii. 385 sqq.).

Henslowe noticed in his ‘Diary’ under dates 9 July and 11 Sept. 1602 that he advanced money to ‘Antony the poet’ for a play (now lost) entitled ‘The Widow's Charm.’ It was suggested by Collier that Henslowe's client on this occasion again was Anthony Wadeson, but it seems more probable that the reference is to Anthony Munday [q. v.]

[Notes kindly supplied by P. A. Daniel, esq.; Fleay's Biographical Chronicle of the English Drama.]

S. L.