I vote Not Proven on this one. McGrath was reviewing a book on Housman, not a book of Biblical exegesis, for one thing. For another thing, Shropshire Lad XLV is strange enough, ending with the utterly non-Christian linesBut play the man, stand up and end you, When your sickness is your soul.And finally, Housman's people seem to fancy themselves soul sick, but he lived to a ripe enough age, didn't he?
The poem begins with a clear reference to the Sermon on the Mount, and McGrath calls it strange. Well, it isn't strange to anyone familiar with the Sermon. Perhaps someone should McGrath about it. Housman, by the way, my allude to Christian things, but I don't think he considered himself a Christian. And yes, he made it past my age and wrote of dying young. Those poets.