chapter  10
7 Pages

‘So broken down by suffering’

Calvin’s illness and death

Calvin's correspondents were the regular recipients of detailed accounts of his ailments. Calvin was courteously aware that he might be 'thoughtlessly taxing the patience' of his correspondents in so detailing his sufferings. Like Francis, Calvin underwent his own version of Christ's Passion. Calvin's confidence on that score seemed to become even more evident in his last days. It would be too easy to write as if Calvin's career reached a high point in 1559-60 with the foundation of the Academy and the publication of the 'Institutes', only to decline through ill-health towards his death. Further burdens, hopes and anxieties for Calvin came with the mounting sectarian tension in France in the early 1560s. On the day of this battle Calvin, alert to the pattern of events in his native land, claimed to have heard martial music, sounding as if it were a distant echo of the encounter.