Critics like to say that Twelfth Night is one of Shakespeare's most poetical and musical plays. Don't be put off or intimidated by this. Some of the most eloquent moments in the play are often the places where Shakespeare makes fun of the shallowness of love poetry, even as he knocks our socks off with his own skill as a writer. Consider the nice little rhymed couplet that marks the end of one of Duke Orsino's musings on love.
Note: a "couplet" is simply two (a couple) lines of verse with the same "meter" (rhythm). A "rhymed couplet," then, is two lines of verse with rhymed endings – like flowers and bowers below:
Away before me to sweet beds of flowers:
Love-thoughts lie rich when canopied with bowers. (1.1.4)
But, there's also something kind of silly about the whole thing. Duke Orsino announces he's off to loll around on a "sweet bed" of flowers, which, apparently, is more comfortable than a couch and more conducive to day-dreaming about love. Of course, Shakespeare knows this is silly and cliché and he invites the audience to laugh at Orsino's over-the-top musings even while they enjoy the sound of his poetry.
There's also plenty of singing in the play. It's difficult to tell which song lyrics are original to Shakespeare and which are borrowed or adapted from popular tunes. Most critics agree that "O Mistress Mine," performed by Feste is Shakespeare's…