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Innocence

  • ... a loss of sensibility follows a loss of innocence, at once a penalty and a compensation.

  • It's innocence when it charms us, ignorance when it doesn't.

  • It is hard and perhaps impossible for many people to recognize the difference between innocence and naiveté.

  • What I call innocence is the spirit's unself-conscious state at any moment of pure devotion to any object. It is at once a receptiveness and total concentration.

  • When lightning strikes, the mouse is sometimes burned with the farm.

  • ... innocence is the hardest thing to prove.

  • Innocence is not pure so much as pleased, / Always expectant, bright-eyed, self-enclosed, / But bursts into tears at a harsh word.

    • May Sarton,
    • "Giant in the Garden," The Land of Silence ()
  • What hope is there for innocence if it is not recognized?

  • To be innocent is to bear the weight of the entire universe. It is to throw away the counterweight.

  • Purity is the ability to contemplate defilement.

  • Victims suggest innocence. And innocence, by the inexorable logic that governs all relational terms, suggests guilt.

  • The sheep feed stolidly, nor know / How near their heads the lightnings go.

    • Nora Chesson,
    • "Sheep in a Storm," Selected Poems, vols. 1-5 ()
  • I used to be Snow White, but I drifted.

    • Mae West,
    • in George Eells and Stanley Musgrove, Mae West ()
  • It is difficult to live with the pure. They do not condemn you; they forgive you. This forgiveness is more terrible than a judgment.

    • Anaïs Nin,
    • 1954, The Diary of Anaïs Nin, vol. 5 ()
  • The innocent are so few that two of them seldom meet — when they do meet, their victims lie strewn all round.

  • No, it is not only our fate but our business to lose innocence, and once we have lost that it is futile to attempt a picnic in Eden.

  • People tend to believe accusations more than denials.

  • Proving innocence, Julian realized, is apt to be much more difficult than proving guilt.

  • ... innocence isn't a sufficient protection in itself. If it were, there would be no martyred saints, no wronged women ... So don't speak to me of innocence. If that were our only clothing, we would freeze.

  • People so reasonable, so devoted, so strongly loving and hard working should have been exempt, one feels, from the vagaries of a malicious fate.

  • If cynicism is inevitable as one ages, so is the yearning for innocence. To children heaven is being an adult, and to adults heaven is being children again.

  • When a person is found less guilty than he is suspected, he is concluded more innocent than he really is.

  • I don't think anyone's a failure as long as they're still innocent. Just a little. They may lose everything good in them but as long as they believe just a little in something very small, they're still innocent. To fail is to lose every bit of innocence.

  • Few things are more aggravating than to be forgiven when one has done no wrong.

  • My mother told me that she learned to swim when someone took her out in a boat to the middle of the lake and threw her overboard. I said, 'Mom, they weren't trying to teach you to swim.'

  • Purity strikes me as the most mysterious of the virtues and the more I think about it the less I know about it.

  • I am not innocent. Innocence is a science of the sublime. And I am only at the very beginning of the apprenticeship.

  • Don't we all look back in longing, those of us who had happy childhoods? Because the greatest loss we ever know is not the loss of family or place or money, it is the loss of innocence. There is forever a hollow place in our hearts once we realize that darkness rings the campfire.

  • Innocence involves an unseeing acceptance of things at face value, an ignorance of the area below the surface. ... one cannot have both compassion and innocence.

  • ... there are no innocent bystanders.

  • ... as innocent as waking babies playing with their toes.

    • Grace King,
    • "The Story of a Day," Balcony Stories ()
  • I take the state of innocence very seriously because it is a state of magic. The loss of that state is what turns us into adults.

  • Wickedness serves itself by weapons which we would not use, and if we are wounded with them, we have no more reason to be mortified, than a man would have to think his courage disgraced, because when he lay sleeping in his bed, he was taken prisoner by a body of armed men. To be circumvented by cunning, must ever be the fate, but never the disgrace of the artless.

  • I have encountered in this world riff-raff and good people. I lose. I win. I defend myself when I am attacked. I take when someone has taken from me. But I beg you to believe me; I have never done an act of espionage against France. Never. Never.

    • Mata Hari,
    • in Russell Warren Howe, Mata Hari ()
  • Nobody ever was — or ever again will be — as green as I was the day I landed in New York. That shade has been discontinued.