The word ‘novel’ is scarcely applicable to anything written during the Elizabethan period, but it was from the prose fiction of the period that the English novel was born. A fictional framework is used in Lyly’s Euphues as a basis for the somewhat undisciplined display of supposed worldly wisdom, in Sidney’s Arcadia a complex aggregation of fictional incident is decorated with poetry, but no less relevant than either of these works to the development of the novel is Rosalynde (1590) by Thomas Lodge (?1558-1625), which has some resemblance to both. To Lyly Lodge is indebted for the euphuistic patterning of sentences:
Let time be the touchstone of friendship, and the friends found faithful lay them up for jewels.
However, this level of euphuistic artifice is preserved but fitfully, and the story is ably told at a time when mastery of presentation in prose narrative, as we now understand it, was scarcely to be found. The plot is that used by Shakespeare in As You Like It, with Sir John of Bordeaux for Shakespeare’s Sir Rowland de Boys, Rosader for Orlando, and Alinda for Celia.
Lodge’s narrative is interspersed with set pieces, distinguished by subtitles. When Sir John is at the point of death he delivers a rhetorical exhibition piece moulded of stock didactic themes. Fate and fortune are bowed to: then systematic advice is rehearsed on the subject of thrift, honour, prudence, friendship, appearance (‘The outward show makes not the inner man, nor are dimples in the face the calendars of truth’), love, women (‘women are wantons, and yet one cannot want one’), human folly and life’s transience. Sometimes such set pieces fulfil the function of soliloquies in which characters