Antony and Cleopatra Act 1, Scene 1
Philo and Demetrius, followers of Mark Antony, enter. Philo expresses his disgust that Antony, one of the three men who make up the triumvirate that rules Rome (the other men are Octavius Caesar and Lepidus), has been ignoring his duty as a military leader because he has fallen in love with Cleopatra, the Queen of Egypt, whom Philo calls a hussy.
Antony and Cleopatra enter. Cleopatra asks Antony to tell her how much he loves her; he tells her it would be impossible to quantify it. A messenger enters with news; Cleopatra urges Antony to hear it, saying that it might be orders from Caesar or Fulvia, Antony's wife. Antony refuses to talk of anything but love; he says that the world can fall to pieces, because the most important thing is their love:
"Let Rome in Tiber melt and the wide arch
Of the ranged empire fall! Here is my space.
Kingdoms are clay; our dungy earth alike
Feeds beast as man. The nobleness of life
Is to do thus; when such a mutual pair
And such a twain can do 't, in which I bind,
On pain of punishment, the world to weet
We stand up peerless." Act 1, Scene 1, ll. 35-42
Cleopatra doubts that he truly means this, and tells him again to hear the news, but he insists that he will only hear her words tonight. They exit.
Demetrius and Philo express regret that Antony seems not to be devoted to Caesar, but hope that tomorrow things will change.