Born in London, the English poet and translator Alexander Pope (1688-1744) perfected the use of the heroic couplet—a sequence of rhyming pairs of iambic pentameter lines—in his long poems, like the mock epic “The Rape of the Lock.” Pope’s gift for satire is probably due to his status as an outsider, since his debilitating health problems and his Catholic faith alienated him somewhat from society.

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