>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.

The title of Harington's translation of Ariosto, first published in 1591,
was "Orlando Furioso in English Heroical Verse" -- which, by the way, for
him meant _ottava rima_.

I haven't got a copy of Puttenham handy, but I'd be very surprised if he
didn't use the word "heroic" or "heroical" in connection with some such
noun as "verse", "metre", "poesy", or perhaps even "couplet".

Simon Cauchi

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