Thomas Lodge was born in London, England around the year 1558. He was the second son of his father, also named Thomas Lodge, who was the Lord Mayor of London, and his mother, Anne. As a young man, Lodge attended Merchant Taylors’ School, one of the largest public schools in England, and then later Trinity College, Oxford. He received his Bachelor’s degree in 1577 and his Masters in 1581. During the intervening years, he entered Lincoln’s Inn to study law.
Although his family was against it, the young man decided to take up writing. Lodge’s first work can be traced back to a year after he started his legal studies. It was a pamphlet that he published anonymously in 1579. It detailed an opinion regarding stage plays and was titled, Defence of Poetry, Music and Stage Plays. The pamphlet was banned after its publication but continued to be printed privately. The writer to whom he was responding, Stephen Gosson, published a response to Lodge’s work, which inspired Lodge to reply once more with Alarum Against Usurers. This work detailed the ways that moneylenders lured young people into debt. It was in this same year, 1584, that he published his first work in prose and verse. It was titled, The Delectable History of Forbonius and Prisceria.
The following years saw Lodge make a number of attempts at playwriting. In the early 1590s, he wrote and published a historical romance, The History of Robert, Second Duke of Normandy, surnamed, Robert the Devil. He also wrote Catharos Diogenes in his Singularity, a work he left behind for publication when in 1591 he embarked on a voyage to Brazil and the Straits of Magellan. He returned home two years later. During this time he composed the prose tale, Rosalynde, Euophues Golden Legacie.
In was in the later years of his life that he published, Wits Miseries and the WOrld’s Madnesse, as well as the religious work, Prosopopoeia. (It is still debated whether or not this work can be contributed to Lodge.)
In the late 1500s and early 1600s Lodge received a degree in medicine from the University of Avignon and then another from Oxford. In the years that followed he was forced to move to Brussel to avoid the fallout from the Gunpowder Plot of 1605. He returned to England a number of years later where he worked as a doctor. He died in 1625 while fighting the plague.
You can read Thomas Lodge’s poems here.