In my experience there isn't a good way to do this. What I recommend instead is activate IMAP on your gmail account and then set up a terminal based email program to read your GMail.
EDIT: after opening my fat mouth, I thought I'll try http://m.gmail.com
and this seems to work just fine. I do the same for accessing Facebook on elinks. Though if you don't Facebook does give you a nifty page about how they aren't cool enough to support your browser.