This is a line from Thomas hardy’s novel, Jude the Obscure, first published in book form in 1895. The book dealt with issues around class, bigotry and organised religion. The story centres around Jude Fawley, a working class stone-mason, who aspires to study the classics at Christminster (modelled on Oxford University). While his social standing makes this impossible, Jude does find a semblance of happiness later in the book with Sue Bridehead, a seemingly free spirited young woman.
However, their happiness proves to be short-lived and Jude’s son from his first marriage, nick-named Old Father Time, takes drastic action in response to their emotional and economic stress. Old Father Time is described in the novel as 'of a sort unknown in the last generation — the outcome of new views of life' and the quote comes from a note written by him.