closed couplet

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Two lines of metrical verse in which the syntax and sense come to a conclusion or a strong pause at the end of the second line, giving the couplet the quality of a self-contained epigram. The term is applied almost always to rhyming couplets, especially to the heroic couplet; but whereas the heroic couplets of Chaucer and Keats often allow the sense to run on over the end of the second line (see enjambment), those written by English poets in the late 17th century and in the 18th are usually end-stopped, and are thus closed couplets, as in these lines about men from Sarah Fyge Egerton's ‘The Emulation’ (1703):They fear we should excel their sluggish parts,Should we attempt the sciences and arts;Pretend they were designed for them alone,So keep us fools to raise their own renown.

Subjects: Literature.

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