Elizabeth Hands (1746–1815) was an English poet. Of humble background, she grew up as a domestic servant near Coventry. By 1785 she was married to a blacksmith from whom she acquired the surname "Hands" (her maiden name is unknown). They lived in the area of Rugby. She gave birth to at least one child, but other information concerning her family is unknown.
Poems written by Hands using the pseudonym "Daphne" were published in Jopson's Coventry Mercury. Among those impressed by her work was Thomas James, the headmaster of Rugby School, and in 1789 the school's press published a book of her poems, The Death of Amnon. Hands considered the publication of this volume to be near-miraculous, and wrote an introduction in which she acknowledged the support of her friends in making it possible. It is not known whether Hands continued writing after the publication of Amnon.
Her poems treat domestic and literary themes. Some of her verse is satirical in tone; "A Poem, on the Supposition of an Advertisement Appearing in a Morning Paper, of the Publication of a Volume of Poems, by a Servant-Maid" depicts those who dismissed her literary efforts on account of her social status:
- 'A servant write verses!' says Madame du Bloom
- 'Pray what is the subject – a Mop or a Broom?'
- 'He, he, he,' says Miss Flounce: 'I suppose we shall see
- An Ode on a Dishclout – what else can it be?'
Hands's published poems include:
- Perplexity: A Poem
- On the Author's Lying-In, August, 1785
- On An Unsociable Family
- The Widower's Courtship
- Feldman, Paula R. (1997). British women poets of the Romantic era: an anthology. Baltimore, Md: Johns Hopkins University Press. p. 256. ISBN 0-8018-5430-X
- Feldman, Paula R. (1997). British women poets of the Romantic era: an anthology. Baltimore, Md: Johns Hopkins University Press. p. 258. ISBN 0-8018-5430-X
- Innes, Joanna (14 April 2011). "Ode on a Dishclout". London Review of Books 33(8): 24.