I've been trying to compose/translate some songs into Greek and am having trouble deciding what to use for "it" in some contexts (both the contracted it's = ἐστιν and the impersonal pronoun 'it'). It seems like English likes to use the impersonal construction "it is" much more commonly than Greek. I read in Denniston's Greek Prose Composition p. 28 that "In most Greek prose-writers abstract substantives are seldom made the subject of verbs: the normal agents are human beings.
Impersonal subjects are not the same as abstract subjects, but do they fall into the same category? I know that ἐστιν is used impersonally sometimes in Greek, but it seems to me the frequency of using "it is" is much greater in English usage, perhaps on a 10 to 1 ratio (English to Greek). There are some very commonly used impersonal verbs in Greek such as δεῖ, χρή, πρέπει, etc.
For example, take Bob Dylan's Song Like a Rolling Stone http://www.bobdylan.com/#/songs/rolling-stone:
How does it feel πῶς ἔχει, (or πῶς πάσχει or πῶς σε πάσχει)
How does it feel πῶς ἔχει,
To be without a home τὸ εἶναι ἀνέστιος
To be on your own τὸ εἶναι ἐρῆμος
With no direction home μὴ ποῖ οἴκαδε, (unsure of this line)
Like a complete unknown ὡς μάλ' ἄγνωστος,
Like a rolling stone? ὡς κυκλίνων λίθος; (ὡς ἐλισσόμενος λίθος)
Or another from a modern praise song The Heart of Worship:
And it's all about you πᾶντ' ἐστὶν περὶ σοὶ (σου χάριν)
...I'm sorry for the thing I've made it λυποῦμαι ἅττα ἐποίησα
In Dylan's song, the phrase 'How does it feel', really means "How do you feel". What would be more appropriate:
πῶς πάσχει, or πῶς ἔχει, or would πῶς πάσχεις / ἔχεις be more appropriate? Would πάσχεις be more natural Greek? Or the phrase πῶς σε πάσχει making the τὸ εἶναι phrases the subject of πάσχει?
I'm totally unsure of how to translate Dylan's song. The praise song phrase πᾶντ' ἐστιν seems natural enough.
Does Greek restrict the impersonal usage to this list of verbs? Does anyone know of sections in prose/poetic composition books that speak to impersonal subjects, etc.
Any suggestions or references to prose composition books would be appreciated.