Rage of Caliban

In Brief

Although Oscar Wilde earned a degree at Oxford and did most of his mature writing in London in the 1880s and 90s, he grew up in Dublin and enjoyed great popularity there for his literary success. Richie and Sara Goulding have one of his early poems framed over their bedstead: "Requiescat," a lament for his younger sister.

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Isola Wilde died of meningitis at age 9, on 23 February 1867. Oscar, 12 years old at the time, was inconsolable and made frequent visits to her grave. Seven years later, in 1874, he wrote Requiescat while in Avignon, France, and he included it in his Poems in 1881. The title means "May she rest (in peace)" (from the church prayer, Requiescat in pace).

The poem may have been inspired, in part, by Matthew Arnold's poem of the same name, published in 1853.

JH 2015
Wilde's Requiescat, copied from an unknown text. Source: www.pinterest.com.