Now is the winter of our discontent
Made glorious summer by this sun of York. - Richard III (1.1.1), Gloucester, later to become King Richard III
The opening lines of the play are a reference to Edward's battle with the Lancastrians at Mortimer's Cross on February 2, 1461. As Edward's Yorkist forces reached Mortimer's Cross, three suns appeared in the sky (an illusion known as a parhelion). Edward proclaimed that the suns were a sign from God -- a manifestation of the blessed Trinity of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost -- affirming that he would be victorious. Edward won the battle and adopted the "Sun in Splendour" as his livery badge. Note also that "sun of York" is a play on words: Edward IV is the son of the Duke of York, Richard Plantagenet.
How to cite this article:
Mabillard, Amanda. Quick Quote: Now is the winter of our discontentShakespeare Online. 20 Aug. 2000. (date when you accessed the information) < http://www.shakespeare-online.com/quickquote/quickquoterichardiiiwinter.html >.