The moral of this song is, hold on to innocence, it is the "key to the door." It is a very old moral and Stevens isn't the only poet to use it in this (or any other) century. Dylan has referred to it as well, in "Shelter From The Storm" when he describes Christ's conversation on the cross, with "I offered up my innocence." Since Milton in Paradise Lost
, poets have bemoaned the price that was paid when Adam took a bite out of the apple and exchanged innocence for self-knowledge. There are poets that take the opposite view: That independence and free will are better than slavery in the service of a God. Joni Mitchell – "Don't Interrupt the Sorrow," "Hissing of Summer Lawns," Peter Gabriel - "Blood of Eden," "Secret Place," Ian Anderson
(Jethro Tull) – almost any song from Aqualung
. Another example is "Youngstown," from The Ghost of Tom Joad
by Bruce Springsteen. The ending of this song defiantly salutes common humanity (I'm taking it out of context a little, I'm sure Springsteen didn't intend it to be anti-Christian) - "When I die don't want no part of heaven, I'd not do heaven's work well, I pray the devil comes and takes me, to stand in the fiery furnaces of hell."