Daborne, Robert (c.1580–1628), playwright and cleric, was the son of Robert Daborne (1551–1612), a tradesman of Guildford, Surrey, and his wife, Susan (née Travis; d. 1626). He states in the preface to A Christian turn'd Turke (1612) that his descent was ‘not obscure but generous’. He matriculated at King's College, Cambridge, in 1598, from which his approximate date of birth may be derived. In 1610 he was a patentee for the Children of the Queen's Revels, which in 1613 merged with Lady Elizabeth's Men. In that year he wrote four unpublished plays, presumably for this company: ‘Machiavell and the devil’, ‘The arraignment of London’, ‘The bellman of London’, and ‘The owl’; and in 1614 he wrote ‘The she saint’. The impresario Philip Henslowe, who supported Lady Elizabeth's Men, appears to have paid Daborne well for his plays, but Daborne, who was constantly in debt, became involved in lawsuits, which encumbered him still further and resulted in repeated requests for loans and advances. On one occasion he and two friends appealed to Henslowe for a loan of £5 ‘without which we cannot be bailed’. Only two of Daborne's plays survive, A Christian turn'd Turke, or, The tragical lives and deaths of the two famous pyrates, Ward and Danseker (1612), based on an account of the pirates’ adventures by Andrew Barker, and The poor-mans comfort (published 1655), described as ‘a tragi-comedy’, which was well received at Drury Lane. Some verses by Daborne are prefixed to Christopher Brook's Ghost of King Richard the Third (1615).
Daborne probably went to Ireland about 1616. His patron was Lord Willoughby and it may have been Willoughby who secured him his clerical preferment, although it is not known when he took holy orders. He was a fellow of the college of Youghal and was attached for some years to the cathedral at Waterford, where in February 1618 he preached A sermon on Zach. ii 7, which he published in 1618 with an epistle dedicated to Donough O'Brien (qv), earl of Thomond and lord president of the province of Munster. This sermon urged the local authorities to force catholics in Waterford city to attend Church of Ireland services. An answer to the sermon was written in 1620 and eventually published in 1644 by an Augustinian priest, Patrick Comerford (qv), entitled An inquisition of a sermon preached in the cathedral church of the city of Waterford; this was addressed to the catholic citizens of Waterford to encourage them in their faith. Comerford noted that Daborne had only come to Ireland to avoid paying his debts in England and mocked him for his fatness, which he said reflected his gluttony. In 1619 Daborne was made chancellor of Waterford, in 1620 prebendary of Lismore cathedral, and in 1622 dean of Lismore. He retained his prebend in commendam, and by his patent dated June 1622 the deanery was united with the prebend of Dissert and Kilmoleran. He died 23 March 1628, probably at Lismore, Co. Waterford.