Though this verse form was introduced into English by Chaucer in the fourteenth century, its name derives from its use in seventeenth-century "heroic" (epic) drama and poetry. In closed couplets, each pair of lines is self-contained, even if they are part of a larger grammatical structure, as in the following lines from Pope's "An Essay on Criticism" (1711):
In Wit, as Nature, what affects our hearts
Is not th' exactness of peculiar parts;
`Tis not a lip, or eye, we beauty call,
But the joint force and full result of all.