Plague, when used as a verb, meaning To trouble, tease, bother, annoy, or pester, usually repeatedly, insistently, or constantly; to constitute a nuisance, threat, or danger to. Freq. in pass (OED sense 2a), seems to me to have declined.
1595 Spenser Amoretti xli, in Amoretti & Epithalamion sig. C6, If her nature and her wil be so, That she will plague the man that loues her most.
1616 B. Jonson Epicœne i. ii, in Wks. I. 534 It giues thee law of plaguing him.
1637 J. Bastwick Letany i. 21, I will..so plauge the Metropolicallity of Yorke and Canterbury.
1658 W. Johnson tr. F. Würtz Surgeons Guid ii. xii. 94 Patients in this case are commonly plagued with a cough.
a1681 J. Lacy Sr. Hercules Buffoon (1684) iii. iii. 28, I am so plagued with Citizens, that I cannot have a Deer that's mans meat, but they steal it out of my Park, my Lord.
1728 J. Gay Beggar's Opera i. viii. 9 Husbands and Wives..plaguing one another.
1767 P. Gibbes Woman of Fashion II. 171 What a dickens would you have more!.. I won't hear you, I won't be plagued.
a1817 J. Austen Persuasion (1818) IV. x. 221, I really cannot be plaguing myself for ever with all the new poems and states of the nation that come out.
1833 H. Martineau Tale of Tyne ii. 33 The big boys used to plague him, and he plagued the little ones.
1893 Dict. National Biogr. at Margaret Tudor, Queen of Scotland,
In 1541 she was again plaguing Henry with her money troubles.
1952 J. L. Waten Alien Son 105 You and your questions!.. Do you have to plague me, too?
1989 Chron. of Horse 1 Sept. 51/3 When the above measures are followed, even horses that have been plagued by sore feet..will usually show great improvement.
I do not include here the use of OED sense 1, which meaning is: To afflict (a person, community, country, etc.) with a plague, or with a difficulty or misfortune as if with a plague; to visit calamity or misfortune on (a person, etc.), esp. as a punishment or expression of displeasure.
When I was a child in the 1950s, in Norfolk, my parents generation made frequent use of it, often to describe the pesterings of their children - he keeps plaguing me to buy him a twin-barrelled bazooka. Nowadays I seldom, if ever, hear it used.
Is this the experience of others? And why might it be the case? It does seem to be an expressive conveyance, both of one's annoyance, as well as illustrative of the supplicant's intensity.
What might we use instead, which is more in vogue?