Just off the top of my head, I thought the term "heroic couplets" originated after Pope wrote his translations of Homer in rhyming iambic pentameter couplets.  But I can't offer any proof for this.  I may be wrong.

Randi Eldevik
Oklahoma State University

David Wilson-Okamura <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>

08/09/04 10:35 AM
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        Subject:        VIRGIL: heroic verse

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A question, then. For the last few years, I have been reading and writing
about epic style in the Renaissance. For someone who was trying to imitate
Virgil's epic style in a vernacular language, the first question was which
meter to use: dactylic hexameter, blank verse, couplets, or stanzas? This
also applied to translations.

My question is this: when did critics and poets start using the term
"heroic couplet"? The online OED, which lets you search quotations, does
not have an example of this phrase until 1857! As early as 1693, Dryden is
using the phrase "heroic verse," but this is still very late, and he
doesn't write as if the term were a new one.

David Wilson-Okamura        http://virgil.org          [EMAIL PROTECTED]
East Carolina University    Virgil reception, discussion, documents, &c
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