Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Innocence

"Just as a tested and rugged virtue of the moral hero is worth more than the lovely, tender, untried innocence of the child, so is the massive strength of a soul that has conquered truth for itself worth more than the soft peach-bloom faith of a soul that takes truth on trust." - Francis Ellington Abbot

"Experience, which destroys innocence, also leads one back to it." -

"Innocence dwells with wisdom, but never with ignorance." - William Blake

"In the government you called civilized, the happiness of the people is constantly sacrificed to the splendor of the empire. Hence the origin of your codes of criminal and civil laws; hence your dungeons and prisons. We have no prisons; we have no written laws; and yet judges are as highly revered among us as they are among you, and their decisions are as much regarded. We have among us no exalted villains above the control of our laws. Daring wickedness is here never allowed to triumph over helpless innocence. The estates of widows and orphans are never devoured by enterprising swindlers. We have no robbery under the pretext of law." - Joseph Brant, aka Thayendanegea

"Remorse is virtue's root; its fair increase are fruits of innocence and blessedness." - William Cullen Bryant

"Obscurity and innocence, twin sisters, escape temptations which would pierce their gossamer armor in contact with the world." -

"Prudery is the innocence of the vicious - external sanctity, assumed as a cover for internal laxity." - Paul Chatfield, pseudonym for Horace Smith

"Fear, if it be not immoderate, puts a guard about us that does watch and defend us; but credulity keeps us naked, and lays us open to all the sly assaults of ill-intending men: it was a virtue when man was in his innocence; but since his fall, it abuses those that own it." - Owen Feltham

"In our obsession with original sin, we have forgotten Original Innocence." -

"Innocence is its own defense." - Benjamin Franklin

"The exactest vigilance and caution can never maintain a single day of unmingled innocence, much less can the utmost efforts of incorporated mind reach the summits of speculative virtue." -

"Individualism is rather like innocence; there must be something unconscious about it." - Louis Kronenberger

"The most effective coquetry is innocence." -

"No one is safe from slander. The best way is to pay no attention to it, but live in innocence and let the world talk." - Molière, pen name of Jean Baptiste Poquelin NULL

"Of what is great, one must either be silent, or speak with greatness - that means cynically and with innocence." -

"Whoever blushes is already guilty; true innocence is ashamed of nothing." - Jean-Jacques Rousseau

"The enemy is single selfishness and compulsive greed... I think the enemy comes to us with the face of innocence and says to us: “I am your friend.”" - Thomas Wolfe, fully Thomas Clayton Wolfe

"Guilt is ever at a loss, and confusion waits upon it; when innocence and bold truth are always ready for expression." - William Congreve

"The innocence of the intention abates nothing of the mischief of the example." -

"Innocence is a flower which withers when touched, but blooms not again, though watered with tears." - Lucy Hooper True

"Disease generally begins that equality which death completes; the distinctions which set one man so much above another are very little perceived in the gloom of a sick-chamber, where it will be vain to expect entertainment from the gay, or instruction from the wise; where all human glory is obliterated, the wit is clouded, the reasoner perplexed, and the hero subdued; where the highest and brightest of mortal being finds nothing left behind him but the consciousness of innocence." -

"To dread no eye and to suspect no tongue is the great prerogative of innocence - an exemption granted only to invariable virtue." -

"Small crimes always precede great crimes. Whoever has been able to transgress the limits set by law may afterwards violate the most sacred rights; crime, like virtue, has its degrees, and never have we seen timid innocence pass suddenly to extreme licentiousness." - Jean Racine, baptismal name Jean-Baptiste Racine

"For when man comes to front the everlasting God, and look the splendor of His judgments in the face, personal integrity, the dream of spotlessness and innocence, vanishes into thin air: your decencies and your church-goings and your regularities and your attachment to a correct school and party, your gospel formulas of sound doctrine - what is all that, in front of the blaze of the wrath to come?" -

"A good wife is heaven’s last, best gift to man - his gem of many virtues, his casket of jewels; her voice is sweet music, her smiles his brightest day, her kiss the guardian of his innocence, her arms the pale of his safety, her industry his surest wealth, her economy his safest steward, her lips his faithful counselors, her bosom the softest pillow of his care." - Jeremy Taylor

"To “justify” means nothing else than to acquit of guilt him who was accused as if his own innocence were confirmed." -

"To vice, innocence must always seem only a superior kind of chicanery." -

"Government, like dress, is the badge of lost innocence." - Thomas Paine

"If we are to reach peace in this world and if we are to carry on a real war against war, we shall have to begin with the children; and if they will grow up in their natural innocence, we won't have to struggle; we won't have to pass fruitless idle resolutions, but we shall go from love to love and peace to peace, until at last all the corners of the world are covered with that peace and love for which consciously or unconsciously the whole world is hungering." -

"Innocence in genius, and candor in power, are both noble qualities." -

"We are all special cases. We all want to appeal to something! Everyone insists on his innocence, at all costs, even if it means accusing the rest of the human race and heaven." - Albert Camus

"We are all special cases. We all want to appeal to something! Everyone insists on his innocence, at all costs, even if it means accusing the rest of the human race and heaven." -

"Where choice begins, Paradise ends, innocence ends, for what is Paradise but the absence of any need to choose this action?" - Arthur Asher Miller

"Those who love you are not fooled by mistakes you have made or dark images you hold about yourself. They remember your beauty when you feel ugly; your wholeness when you are broken; your innocence when you feel guilty; and your purpose when you are confused." - Author Unknown NULL

"The author of genius does keep till his last breath the spontaneity, the ready sensitiveness, of a child, the "innocence of eye" that means so much to the painter, the ability to respond freshly and quickly to new scenes, and to old scenes as though they were new; to see traits and characteristics as though each were new-minted from the hand of God instead of sorting them quickly into dusty categories and pigeon-holing them without wonder or surprise; to feel situations so immediately and keenly that the word "trite" has hardly any meaning for him; and always to see "the correspondences between things" of which Aristotle spoke two thousand years ago." - Dorothea Brande

"Through our own recovered innocence we discern the innocence of our neighbors." - Henry David Thoreau, born David Henry Thoreau

"When crime wishes to attack innocence, it can always find a pretext for doing so." - Jean de La Fontaine

"A cheerful temper, joined with innocence, will make beauty attractive, knowledge delightful, and wit good natured. It will lighten sickness, poverty and affliction; convert ignorance into an amiable simplicity, and render deformity itself agreeable." - Joseph Addison

"The first of all virtues is innocence; the next is modesty. If we banish modesty out of the world, she carries away with her half the virtue that is in it." - Joseph Addison

"Virtue is not to be considered in the light of mere innocence, or abstaining from harm; but as the exertion of our faculties in doing good." - Joseph Butler

"Medicine, to produce health, has to examine disease, and music, to create harmony, must investigate discord; and the supreme arts of temperance, of justice, and of wisdom, as they are acts of judgment and selection, exercised not on good and just and expedient only, but also on wicked, unjust, and inexpedient objects, do not give their commendations to the mere innocence whose boast is its inexperience of evil, and whose utter name is, by their award, simpleness and ignorance of what all men who live aright should know." - Plutarch, named Lucius Mestrius Plutarchus after becoming Roman citizen NULL

"Ignorance is not innocence, but sin." - Robert Browning

"Spiritual teachers emphasize that by abandoning our preconceived ideas and ordinary perceptual filters, we can experience high states of consciousness, inexpressible delight, and a sense of innocence and mystery about existence... the transfiguration of life from a vale of tears into a celebration of truth and beauty." - Ronald S. Miller

"Of evils current upon earth, the worst is money. It is money that sacks cities, and drives men forth from hearth and home; warps and seduces native innocence, and breeds a habit of dishonesty." - Sophocles NULL

"Bring together all the children of the universe, you will see nothing in them but innocence, gentleness, and fear; were they born wicked, spiteful, and cruel, some signs of it would come from them; as little snakes strive to bite, and little tigers to tear. But nature having been of offensive weapons to man as to pigeons and rabbits, it cannot have given them an instinct to mischief and destruction." - Voltaire, pen name of François-Marie Arouet NULL

"It is not only possible to say a great deal in praise of play; it is really possible to say the highest things in praise of it. It might reasonably be maintained that the true object of all human life is play. Earth is a task garden; heaven is a playground. To be at last in such secure innocence that one can juggle with the universe and the stars, to be so good that one can treat everything as a joke — that may be, perhaps, the real end and final holiday of human souls." - Gilbert Keith "G.K." Chesteron