I botched the opening quotation/epigraph by the poet Charles Simic in yesterday’s New York Review of Books. The quote actually reads: ‘There is nothing more boring in all of creation than a poet telling you he is writing a poem, using words’.
*Cock’s crow / the second cock: literally the cry of a rooster, but also, at least for Shakespeare, roughly 3am. The Porter in Macbeth, for instance, serves as a fool and a lush who admits drinking himself into oblivion until the second cock crow, which is conveniently also the time of night when the King is murdered by Macbeth. II, iii.
Although denigrated as a liar and a lush, if you ask me the Porter is really a kind of resident poet and actor manqué; and the lion here is meant to be some version of a sleepwalker/insomniac in addition to being a coward who is afraid of roosters.