Burden of a Song

The words repeated in each verse, the chorus or refrain. It is the French bourdon, the big drone of a bagpipe, or double-diapason of an organ, used in fortë parts and choruses.

Burden of Isaiah.
The “measure” of a prophecy announcing a calamity, or a denunciation of hardships on those against whom the burden is uttered. (Isa. xiii. 1, etc.)

The burden of proof.
The obligation to prove something.

“The burden of proof is on the party holding the affirmative” [because no one can prove a negative, except by reductio ad absurdum ]. —Greenleaf: On Evidence (vol. i. part 2, chap. iii. p. 105).

Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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