This is the opening speech of Shakespeare's Richard III.  Gloucester (pronounced Glaw-ster) aka Richard III is lamenting the state of his life.  His family had been tied up in a battle for the Crown of England (the Wars of the Roses) since 1455 (the play's opening takes place sometime around 1483).

Not only is Glouster incredibly angry about his fate thus far in life (he's not a great looking man--in fact, he was called "Richard the Humpback" by his subjects--see italicized section of the passage), his tirade foreshadows the events of the rest of the play.   The king was closely associated with the sun (line 2).  In this passage, Richard vows to become the villain everyone already believes him to be--and he's a great villain!!  In Shakespeare, when a character delivers a soliloquy (solo speech), he or she is always assumed to be telling the truth.

For more information about the very complex history surrounding the Houses of Lancaster and York and a family tree to clear up the relationship confusion, click here.

SCENE I. London. A street.  Enter GLOUCESTER, solus


    Now is the winter of our discontent
    Made glorious summer by this sun of York;
    And all the clouds that lour'd upon our house
    In the deep bosom of the ocean buried.
    Now are our brows bound with victorious wreaths;
    Our bruised arms hung up for monuments;
    Our stern alarums changed to merry meetings,
    Our dreadful marches to delightful measures.
    Grim-visaged war hath smooth'd his wrinkled front;
    And now, instead of mounting barded steeds
    To fright the souls of fearful adversaries,
    He capers nimbly in a lady's chamber
    To the lascivious pleasing of a lute.
    **But I, that am not shaped for sportive tricks,
    Nor made to court an amorous looking-glass;
    I, that am rudely stamp'd, and want love's majesty
    To strut before a wanton ambling nymph;
    I, that am curtail'd of this fair proportion,
    Cheated of feature by dissembling nature,
    Deformed, unfinish'd, sent before my time
    Into this breathing world, scarce half made up,
    And that so lamely and unfashionable
    That dogs bark at me as I halt by them;
    Why, I, in this weak piping time of peace,
    Have no delight to pass away the time,
    Unless to spy my shadow in the sun
    And descant on mine own deformity:
    And therefore, since I cannot prove a lover,
    To entertain these fair well-spoken days,
    I am determined to prove a villain
    And hate the idle pleasures of these days.**
    Plots have I laid, inductions dangerous,
    By drunken prophecies, libels and dreams,
    To set my brother Clarence and the king
    In deadly hate the one against the other:
    And if King Edward be as true and just
    As I am subtle, false and treacherous,
    This day should Clarence closely be mew'd up,
    About a prophecy, which says that 'G'
    Of Edward's heirs the murderer shall be.
    Dive, thoughts, down to my soul: here
    Clarence comes.

    Enter CLARENCE, guarded, and BRAKENBURY

    Brother, good day; what means this armed guard
    That waits upon your grace?

Click here for the rest of the text Richard III as well as other Shakespeare texts.