"his basilisk eyes were nearly quenched by sleeplessness"


GNU Free Documentation LicenseBasilisk - Credit: Georges Jansoone

The basilisk is a reptile of Greek legend known as the king of the serpents. It reputedly had the power to cause death with a single glance. 

Mediaeval European portrayals of basilisks (as pictured) added elements of the cockerel.  Basilisks were said to derive from serpents' eggs hatched by cockerels.