Requiescat is Latin for peace. In this poem it is shorthand for the fuller “Requiescat in pace” or Rest In Peace.
I don’t know who Arnold is referring to.
Death was close back then. Common. Disease. Lack of doctoring. Death at childbirth. A short lifespan in general.
I was thirty years old before I experienced the loss of a family member. Back then it might have happened to a child of five or six.
It is so hard to compare eras.
May he/she rest in peace. pace
May he/she rest in peace.
by Matthew Arnold (1822-1888)
Strew on her roses, roses,
And never a spray of yew!
In quiet she reposes;
Ah, would that I did too!
Her mirth the world required;
She bathed it in smiles of glee.
But her heart was tired, tired,
And now they let her be.
Her life was turning, turning,
In mazes of heat and sound.
But for peace her soul was yearning,
And now peace laps her round.
Her cabin’d, ample spirit,
It flutter’d and fail’d for breath.
To-night it doth inherit
The vasty hall of death.