Frank J. Wilstach, comp. A Dictionary of Similes. 1916.
Recreation is intended to the mind, as whetting is to the scythe; to sharpen the edge of it, which otherwise would grow dull and blunt. He, therefore, that spends his whole time in recreation, is ever whetting, never mowing: his grass may grow, and his steed starve. As, contrarily, he, that always toils and never recreates, is ever mowing, never whetting; labouring much to little purpose: as good no scythe, as no edge. Then only doth the work go forward, when the scythe is so seasonably and moderately whetted, that it may cut; and so cuts, that it may have the help of sharpening. I would also so interchange, that I neither be dull with work, nor idle and wanton with recreation. Joseph Hall